Decatur Co. Schools, DA take on truancy - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

Decatur Co. Schools, DA take on truancy

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BAINBRIDGE, GA (WALB) -

For kids under the age of 16, going to school is not just recommended, it's the law.

As a kid, many of us dreaded it, but for around 180 days a year, school is where we needed to be.

"We believe it is going to have a positive effect on student achievement, but we also believe it is going to have a positive effect on our county when we keep those kids off the streets, out of trouble and in the school building," said Superintendent Fred Rayfield.

The Decatur County Board of Education and District Attorney's Office met with parents Tuesday morning who's kids have 15 or more unexcused absences.

"Just to let them know they are now on notice for next school year and that we are going to be taking this incredibly important as far as their attendance in school and if they are not showing up, and they do not having any excused absences, that they will be prosecuted for those unexcused absences," said District Attorney Joe Mulholland.

Mulholland says keeping these kids in school is important for safety and monetary reasons.

"It goes all the way to the fact of the funding we receive both at the state and the federal level that we do not receive if they are not in school. What they are doing if they are not in school, which is going to see me in felony court."

"When they are allowed not to attend school and the adults or parents are not present during the day, that leads to crime, that leads to juvenile problems throughout any city that's allowed to happen," said Rayfield.

Rayfield says last year they completely revised the county's attendance protocol.

"The District Attorney's step is an optional step in our process of attendance protocol and we really want to thank our District Attorney's Office and Joe Mulholland for carrying out this step."

Mulholland says if prosecuted, truancy is a misdemeanor offense, but he hopes after these meetings, it will never get to that point.

If a parent or guardian causes the child to have the unexcused absence, the adult, not the child, is in violation of the statute.

 

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