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Proposed Changes to State Truancy Laws

Proposed Changes to State Truancy Laws

June 25, 2014- Don Rooney
HARRISBURG- State Senators are proposing a change in Pennsylvania's truancy laws after a mother of seven died in a county jail while serving a sentence for not paying fines for her children's absences from school.

 Eileen DiNino, a 55-year-old mother of seven, died of undetermined causes June7 as she was serving a 48-hour sentence for not paying fines a magisterial district justice imposed following her sonsí absences from school. The legislation Sen. Judy Schwank and others are proposing would remove the current requirement that a person serve up to five days in jail for not paying truancy fines and replace it with the requirement that school districts set up individualized Truancy Elimination Plans.

TEPs, as they are called, use best practices to identify and deal with truancy cases before they reach the point where they must be referred to courts or juvenile authorities. If a case subsequently is referred to court, the judge may still impose a sentence that includes a fine, participation in a parenting education course or community service, but not jail.

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