Paper Type

Master's Thesis


College of Arts and Sciences

Degree Name

Master of Science in Criminal Justice (MSCJ)

First Advisor

Dr. Michael A. Hallett

Second Advisor

Dr. Michael D. White

Department Chair

Dr. Scott Frey


This research utilizes the case study method to examine the effectiveness of truancy statutes recently implemented in Florida's Fourth Judicial Circuit prior to the 1999-2000 school year. The statutes were implemented state wide, but this study concentrates on the Fourth Judicial Circuit. The Fourth Judicial Circuit in Northeast Florida consists of Duval, Clay, and Nassau Counties. The legislation examined requires individual schools to conduct an initial truancy intervention when a student has accumulated 5 unexcused absences in a calendar month or 10 unexcused absences in any 90-day period.

An exploratory case study was conducted that consisted of interviews with school attendance social workers, data collection from the Truancy Arbitration Program run from the State Attorney's Office in each county, and state wide attendance data. An additional Program in the Duval County State Attorney's Office was also studied. Data for three school years, one before the new statutes and two after, were analyzed to see if the implementation of these statutes was successful.

The study concludes that the implementation of these new statutes by the schools in the Fourth Judicial Circuit has been a failure. This research demonstrates that the schools are conducting a fraction of the required interventions to students in need and therefore other intervention programs have had a reduction in referrals since the initial intervention in not taking place. Finally, the research also discovered that there seems to be a bias in the handling of truant females, already well documented in other jurisdictions.