Friday January 13, 2006
County Attorney Irv Maze Issues 372 Habitual Truancy
Louisville January 12, 2006 -- Irv Maze, Jefferson County Attorney, today announced the mailing of 372 warning letters to parents of habitually truant Jefferson County Public School elementary students.
The letter states that, according to JCPS records, the parents’ child is considered habitually truant under Kentucky law, and that if the child’s attendance does not improve, the parents may face prosecution.
The Jefferson County Attorney’s Office Truancy Prosecution Program is a component of the JCPS truancy prevention efforts. Jefferson County Public Schools requested assistance in resolving intransigent truancy cases.
Letters were mailed to parents of habitual truants, advising them to get their children to school immediately or risk prosecution. Kentucky law defines habitual truancy as more than six unexcused absences in a school year. Some of the students whose parents or guardians received letters have had as many as 56 unexcused absences since the beginning of school in 2005.
The JCPS will monitor these cases, and those not demonstrating a “dramatic” improvement in their children’s attendance will have complaints issued against them.
Parents of habitual truants will be charged with Unlawful Transaction with a Minor, 3rd Degree, a Class A Misdemeanor, punishable by a maximum of 12 months confinement and/or a $500 fine.
“Particularly with truancy, prevention is preferable to prosecution,” said Maze. “This program has demonstrated that we are serious about school attendance, and the parents seem to be responding by getting their young children to school.”
To date, 59 parents have pleaded guilty under this ongoing program. Last year, attendance among those receiving letters improved 73%. JCPS officials give substantial credit to the Truancy Prosecution Program for the highest school attendance in 12 years.