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Children who are truant from school can be sent to jail if they disobey court orders to return to class, the Colorado Supreme Court has ruled.

In doing so, the state high court overturned a state law that prohibited jailing juveniles who commit such offenses as truancy or running away from home.

The decision upholds that of Colorado Springs District Judge Richard Toth, who sentenced a youth to 20 days at a detention center for contempt of court after the youth refused to attend classes. Judge Toth held that a 1990 state law barring such an action was unconstitutional.

That law, the supreme court agreed, would "render [judges] unable to preserve the dignity of the court."

In the case, a student identified only as J.E.S. three times ignored court orders in 1989 and 1990 to return to class. The student did perform 10 hours of community service required by the judge, but ignored a court order to attend summer school.

Children in the state are required to attend school until age 15.

Vol. 11, Issue 04, Page 2

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