Date of Award

5-1-2005

Degree Type

Thesis

University or Center

Clark Atlanta University(CAU)

School

School of Social Work

Degree Name

M.S.W.

First Advisor

Professor Naomi T. Ward

Abstract

This study investigated the outcome of juvenile court intervention on truancy among middle school students. Truancy, the unauthorized non-attendance of school has been a major problem for many schools across the United States and abroad. Research supports that truancy can be linked to substance use, low academic achievement, poor school performance and violence (Cho, Hallfors, Iriani, Khatapoush, & Saxe, 2002). These factors indicate the desperate need for changes in laws and programs that affect truancy and many states have begun developing such programs. The purpose of this study is to examine the impact of juvenile court intervention on truancy among middle school students.

The sample population was taken from Joseph Emerson Brown Middle School (grades 6-8) located in Atlanta, Georgia and consisted of 30 student attendance records from the 2002 - 2003 and 2003 - 2004 school years. These students had been petitioned to juvenile court for truancy. Student attendance records prior to court intervention were compared with attendance records following court intervention, and a demographic questionnaire was developed and utilized.

The data was analyzed using the One Sample T-test and descriptive statistics. A pre and posttest model was also used to determine the change in truancy. It was hypothesized that juvenile court intervention, the independent variable, would decrease truancy, the dependent variable, among middle school students ages 11-13.

Findings from this study inferred that juvenile court intervention does not reduce truancy rates among students petitioned to appear in court. Because the study was not longitudinal, the researcher was unable to determine the long-term effects of juvenile court intervention on truancy. This study will aid education administrators in deciding whether to continue to utilize juvenile court as an intervention for truant students or to seek other measures to reduce absenteeism.

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