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Juvenile-Justice Bill Passed by Congress Addresses Academic Records, Credits

Congress has passed juvenile-justice legislation that requires academic credits children earn in detention facilities be transferred with them to their new school, along with their student records.

The Juvenile Justice Reform Act of 2018 also requires annual reports to include information on how many children have contact with the juvenile-justice system due to an offense committed on school grounds, at a school-sponsored event off campus, or via a school official's referral. 

The legislation, which will go to President Donald Trump for his signature after having passed Congress on Thursday, is a reauthorization of the Juvenile Justice Delinquency and Prevention Act, which was first passed in 1974. It's been a priority for Sen. Charles Grassley, R-Iowa, the chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee. (The sponsor of the House version of the bill is outgoing Rep. Jason Lewis, R-Minn., a member of the House education committee who lost his re-election bid in November.)

Although the legislation doesn't have a tremendous impact on K-12 education policy in general, it does affect some of the most vulnerable students. The Every Student Succeeds Act also tries to make it easier for children leaving juvenile-justice facilities to make the transition into public education by addressing the transfer of their records.

The juvenile-justice bill also requires that children earn full or partial credit toward their high school degrees if they finish secondary school coursework while they're in custody. 

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