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Law Enforcement and School Partnership as a Solution to Truancy: Recommendations From Gulfton's Truancy Reduction Program

NCJ Number
Date Published
National Center for School Engagement
This paper draws upon the experiences of the Gulfton Truancy Reduction Program in Houston, TX, specifically its component of police visitation to the homes of truant students, in offering recommendations for the development of school-police partnerships in addressing school truancy.
Socioeconomic, cultural, and community risk factors are a particular challenge in the Gulfton community, which consists mostly of immigrant families. Consequently, the parents of immigrant students lack a basic understanding of laws and rules that govern school attendance. Truancy is a “gateway” offense that can lead to juvenile delinquency and victimization. Truancy is thus a concern to both the school system and police. A partnership between the school system and police is critical in addressing truancy, particularly in Gulfton. In building such a partnership, law enforcement and school administers must meet, share their ideas on the truancy issue and the various roles of police and school in addressing this issue, and establish mutual roles. A shift in priorities and work patterns may be needed to accommodate mutual goals. A memorandum of agreement should detail each entity’s goals and responsibilities. This paper recommends that the police department create a new set of policies and procedures that are specific to the partnership. Responsibilities and duties assigned to each individual or group must be stated in detail. Schools must allow police access to their school data system. Although schools must comply with confidentiality regulations, outside partners often need to document and review student data or have designated school personnel to assist in these activities.
Date Created: August 18, 2015