35 Truancy Summonses Issued for 2007
Wednesday June 13, 2007
In response to complaints signed by Jefferson County Public Schools, Jefferson County Attorney Irv Maze has requested 35 summonses for parents of habitually truant elementary-aged students. These parents are charged with Unlawful Transaction with a Minor in the 3rd Degree, a Class A Misdemeanor, which carries a maximum penalty of 12 months in jail and/or a $500 fine (KRS 530.070).
School officials initially identified 224 students, and in January 2007 County Attorney Maze sent letters warning of possible legal action to each student’s parents or guardians. Of that group, the attendance of approximately 88%, or 175 students, improved to four or fewer unexcused absences.
Prosecutors and school officials have studied each of the 49 remaining cases to identify those in which the resources of the JCPS Truancy Reduction Program, Family Court, and the Cabinet for Children & Families have been exhausted without improving the students’ attendance. Thirty-five these cases were selected for prosecution.
“The success of this program is in the numbers,” said Superintendent Daeschner. “We are sending a very clear message to parents that it is their responsibility to ensure that their child has regular school attendance. We simply cannot educate students if they are not in school.”
“This is the seventh year for the Truancy program,” said Maze. “Its true success is the emphasis on regular school attendance. If you do not send your elementary child to school, there will be legal consequences.”
Jefferson County Sheriff John Aubrey’s deputies are serving the 35 summonses.
The truancy prosecutions are a component of JCPS’s Truancy Prevention Program. Kentucky law considers a student habitually truant after 6 unexcused absences in a school year. Unexcused absences among the 35 students whose parents are charged range from 14 to 43 days for the 2006-2007 school year. Since the program began in 2001, 106 parents have been successfully prosecuted.