Viewpoint: Truancy hurts us all

It is always interesting to hear the Grand Jury presentments at the end of their service. This time, Grand Jurors said their work was an eye opener about Albany crime, related to the high number of kids on the streets, who should be in school.

"We recommend a strong enforcement of truancy laws, including sanctions on parents and penalties for truant children." said Grand Jury foreman Steve Shellhaas.

Our DA Greg Edwards supports a truancy crackdown, and is warning parents they will be prosecuted if their students are not in school.

"Yes, and we are gong to prosecute parents and kids. And certainly I want that to be clear." The emphasis first will be on stopping unexcused absences by elementary school students.

Edwards said "In the elementary school level we are looking at parents having a lot more control over the child, and also has a lot more opportunity to form good habits for the child."

The schools now are able to provide better tracking information services for law enforcement. The D.A. says that will help Albany Police and School Police step up truancy patrols.

All should be familiar with the curfew law. Anyone between the ages of 4 and 18 cannot be in public between 8:30 AM to 2:30 PM, unless accompanied by an adult.

A truancy violation is a misdemeanor that carries a fine up to $100, and up to 30 days in jail.

Each day's absence is a separate offense. We all agree, making sure kids go to school will improve academic success and cut down on crime.