- Associated Press - Monday, October 24, 2016

SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (AP) - A year and a half after the governor signed a package of juvenile justice reforms, school administrators in South Dakota say the law gives them few options for addressing students’ lesser offenses, such as skipping class.

Students cited for such misconduct would have faced probation or juvenile detention two years ago, the Argus Leader (http://argusne.ws/2dDayjt ) reported. Currently, the consequence is a $100 fine and two additional strikes before more serious consequences.

“To miss (school) and only pay a fine or ticket, they probably don’t see that as a significant consequence,” said James Nold, assistant superintendent for the Sioux Falls School District. “So then they continue to do what they’re doing.”

The overhaul was intended to divert students from detention centers and into counseling programs.

Education leaders said they support that goal, but some said the state has yet to fund or set the alternatives to detention.

“If we’re going to save money on the incarceration, then we would like to see that money invested … whether it’s a diversion program (or) counseling,” West Central Superintendent Jeff Danielsen said.

The intention was to implement four types of the community-based counseling programs. But only one of the programs has been implemented so far.

A group of school administrators from the Sioux Falls area met with lawmakers, state officials and local law enforcement last week to discuss shortcomings. Another meeting is scheduled for Wednesday.

Rep. Mark Mickelson said he anticipates an “amicable process” toward finding a solution.

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Information from: Argus Leader, http://www.argusleader.com

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