News Room

In re J.L. amicus challenges placement of child in residential institution based purely on truancy

ELC, along with Juvenile Law Center (JLC), filed an amicus brief in the case In re J.L. in Pennsylvania Superior Court, challenging a judge’s decision to remove a student, J.L., from his parents and place the child in a residential institution based purely on the student’s non-attendance at school.

Despite the student’s status as a student with a disability and allegations that he was bullied in school, the judge removed J.L. from his parents—parents the judge acknowledged were loving and vigilant—without inquiring into interventions that would address the student’s truancy in light of his disability or the alleged bullying. ELC filed the amicus to educate the court on best practices to addressing truancy and to urge against the extreme and traumatic step of removing students from their homes based purely on truancy. Out-of-home placements put children at risk of negative life outcomes – including contact with the criminal justice system and further disengagement from school.