Parents facing criminal charges over children's truancy

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by WHAS11.com

WHAS11.com

Posted on June 11, 2014 at 4:38 PM

Updated Wednesday, Jun 11 at 7:10 PM

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WHAS11) -- Most people probably aren't thinking about school right now but, dozens of elementary school parents in Kentuckiana definitely are, learning a very hard lesson about truancy in Jefferson County. They now could face time in jail because their children haven't spent enough time in the classroom.

At the beginning of the year, the Jefferson County Attorney's office wrote to the parents of 92 Jefferson County Public School elementary students, telling them their kids were guilty of being habitually truant.  That is defined as having six or more unexcused absences. The students referenced had anywhere from ten to 35 unexcused absences. The letter warned parents they could be prosecuted if their child's attendance didn't improve.

More than half of those students did improve, however 35 didn't.  Now 44 parents and guardians have to appear before a judge on charges of unlawful transaction with a minor in the third degree.  That class “A” misdemeanor carries up to a year in prison and/or a 500 dollar fine.  But the county attorney's office says the intent isn't to punish, but to change behavior.

Laws regarding truancy do not come from the County Attorney's Office or JCPS, but state statute.

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