EYEWITNESS LOCAL NEWSTRUANCY CRACKDOWN
from Eyewitness News Online
Circuit Judge Uses Heavy Hand With ParentsTo Keep Kids In School
Reported by: Bob Aaron
Videographer: Bob Aaron
Web Producer: Bob Aaron
Reported: Jan. 11, 2012 6:02 PM EST
Updated: Jan. 11, 2012 6:10 PM EST
Charleston , Kanawha County , West Virginia
Lots of students were in class today, but Kanawha County statistics show an alarming truancy rate of 44 percent in 2009 that starts young. It becomes a legal issue after five unexcused days out of school. The problem is getting attention from the Supreme Court and now the chief judge in Kanawha County.
Judge Duke Bloom took over half-a-dozen truancy cases involving younger students Wednesday from the juvenile referee (Magistrate Ward Harshbarger. ) 5 parents played hooky from their scheduled hearings. He ordered them brought to magistrate court.
Rhonda Smith -who showed up--admitted she failed to get her 13-year-old daughter to school for 15 days, Bloom warned; " You have a responsibility as a parent to see that your kids get an education....I expect you will report any absences to me and I will issue a capius for your arrest and you'll spend the rest of the time in jail. You understand that? ".
The judge sent her to work as a school janitor for 15 days along with 260 dollars in fines and court costs. Parents used to be the major deterrent to skipping school, but that's not always true now.
Prosecutor Mark Plants says 75 to 80 percent of the offenders he deals with were school dropouts. Plants said there had been earlier meetings with school and court officials and the parents that did not work. He hopes this will prod them to keep their kids in school.
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