In a state proud of its reputation for "hang 'em high" Texas justice, closing the school-to-prison pipeline has long seemed next to impossible.
For years, Texas prosecuted more kids for missing school than all other states combined. In 2013, prosecutors charged more than 115,000 kids with truancy in adult criminal courts, where the minors were denied access to lawyers, fined thousands of dollars, and saddled with criminal records, despite evidence that such punitive measures didn't incentivize kids to come to school.
But now Texas is changing course.
As students in Texas return to school this month, a sweeping reform of the state's truancy laws will go into effect, eliminating the use of adult courts for truancy cases and requiring schools to operate truancy prevention programs. Instead of automatically handing off truant kids to the criminal justice system, schools will be forced to deal directly with minors who skip school, and to delve further than ever before into the reasons that individual students miss school.
Read the whole story at Huffington Post