Fifteen Jacksonville, Florida area (Duval, Clay and Nassau County) parents were arrested recently pursuant to the Florida habitual truancy law, according to www.News4Jax.com. The Florida law provides that all kids age 6 to 16 must go to school. A kid is habitually truant, or absent from school, if he or she has fifteen unexcused absences in ninety days. In this case, Jacksonville area police officers indicated that each of the children of the parents arrested had at least twenty unexcused absences from school this year.
Duval County, Clay County and Nassau County police arrested the parents on charges of failing to comply with the compulsory child attendance laws and contributing to the delinquency of the children, which are misdemeanor crimes in Florida.
Jacksonville area police officers and school officials cite the serious nature and effects of truancy in support of the truancy crime laws and the arrests. One study by the National Center for Mental Health Promotion and Youth Violence Prevention indicated that, in addition to the negative academic consequences, truancy is also a risk factor for other problems like drug and alcohol abuse, gang activity, serious criminal behavior and chronic unemployment. Literature from the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention reports that kids who are habitually truant from school are at greater risk as adults for poor physical and mental health, poverty, incarceration and raising children who have the same problems.