Shut Down Tennessee’s School-to-Prison Pipeline

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UPDATE: This bill was signed into law by Governor Haslam on May 19, 2017.

The “school-to-prison pipeline” refers to the policies and practices that push our nation’s schoolchildren, especially our most at-risk children, out of classrooms and into the juvenile and criminal justice systems.

SB 196/HB 483, sponsored by Sen. Doug Overbey and Rep. John Forgety, would counteract the school-to-prison pipeline by establishing a progressive truancy intervention program designed to keep children out of the juvenile court system.

In Tennessee, a young person found guilty of truancy – or too many unexcused absences from school – can be placed on strict probation, fined, required to do community service, lose his or her driver’s license and even be placed in state custody. Such punishments do not necessarily address the problem head-on.

Truancy can be due to a number of factors, including bullying, family issues, undiagnosed learning disabilities, and untreated mental health issues such as post-traumatic stress disorder.

SB 196/HB 483 will help students access the resources they need to overcome the challenges leading to truancy in the first place.

TAKE ACTION: Urge lawmakers to help truant kids address the roots of their absences before they are sent to court.

Sample Letter to Legislators

SUBJ: Support SB 196/HB 483

I am writing to urge your support of SB 196/HB 483, which establishes a progressive truancy intervention program designed to keep children out of the juvenile court system.

Truancy can be due to a number of factors, including bullying, family issues, undiagnosed learning disabilities, and untreated mental health issues such as post-traumatic stress disorder.

Simply funneling children into court, where they can be placed on strict probation, fined, required to do community service, lose their driver’s licenses and even be placed in state custody, does not address the root causes of truancy.

SB 196/HB 483 will help students access the resources they need to overcome the challenges leading to truancy in the first place.

Please support SB 196/HB 483 to ensure Tennessee’s schoolchildren have the support they need. Thank you for your consideration.

2017-08-08T13:06:38+00:00 February 21st, 2017|Categories: Take Action|