Now here’s a story that has a little bit of everything: truant kids, gang-bangers, DISD, questionable parenting, possible racism, "cheese" heroin, private enterprise and not enough money. Still interested? Check out the Dallas Observer’s story "For Whom the Bell Tolls", a very lengthy look at DISD’s truancy problem, along with a pilot program that produced amazing results but wound up costing too much to implement and raised concerns among State Sen. Royce West and the Texas ACLU about whether putting traceable ankle bracelets on habitual truants violated their civil rights. The DMN also published a story on this issue awhile back.

Neighborhood high school Bryan Adams figures prominently in the story, which tracks the politics and cost behind a pilot program that generated what appear to be excellent results in reducing DISD truancy. Unfortunately, the cost of implementing the program on a district-wide level seems well beyond the reach of the school district, particularly at a time when it’s laying off people faster than it’s hiring them. Still, the story offers some excellent points to ponder, particularly if you’re someone who believes it’s the responsibility of DISD and taxpayers to keep a kid in school, as opposed to requiring parents/guardians to rise to the task and shrugging our shoulders if they don’t. (Note that the picture is not the actual bracelet; I couldn’t locate a photo of that one, so this is a similar apparatus.)

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