City Truancy Center Could Return

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The New Orleans City Council is considering a collaboration with the Orleans Parish School Board (OPSB) to create a new city-wide truancy center. Hailed as an anti-crime measure, the truancy center would be available to the growing number of juveniles who have drifted away from an in-school education since the pandemic began.  

It has been proven that youngsters who roam the streets rather than attend classes often run with the wrong crowd and engage in criminal activities. In addition these same youngsters are more likely not to receive a high school diploma and therefore have limited job opportunities. 

Council President J.P. Morrell said that the Council and the OPSB will share resources as well as enable a variety of different law enforcement groups. The goal is to help youngsters who are truant to be brought to a truancy center “so their parents can be contacted and they can be resourced,” Morrell explained.

The concept of a new truancy center was discussed at the meeting of the Council’s Community Development Committee on January 30, and will be brought to the full council for approval. Four in 10 Louisiana students are considered truant. The classification is assigned to students who during one semester have five or more unexcused absences or tardies. During the past five years, the truancy rate in Louisiana has grown by 22 percent. 

A measure that would reinstate a curfew center in Orleans Parish was tabled but could be reconsidered once a truancy center becomes operational. Curfew centers sometimes do more harm than good by widening the divide between youngsters and police officers. Successful curfew centers excel at understanding and supporting teens while also providing the resources they need.

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