Amaris Garber


“When I was a kid, I walked to school uphill . . . both ways!” Hidden in this adage is a kernel of truth regarding America’s relationship with education: for many Americans, school attendance is often difficult for more reasons than just the early morning struggle of getting out of bed. Prior to 2020, 15% of students missed at least 10% of the school year. In the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, absenteeism increased at worrisome rates; in the 2021-2022 school year, more than 25% of students missed at least 10% of the school year. In Missouri specifically, chronic absenteeism increased by 11% between the 2018-2019 and the 2021-2022 school year. As a national conversation centers around how the United States can address this absenteeism problem, the judiciary has not been silent. In the summer of 2023, the Missouri Supreme Court contributed to the dialogue by re-examining Missouri’s truancy legislation in State of Missouri v. Caitlyn C. Williams, State of Missouri v. Tamarae L. LaRue (“Williams”).

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