truancy in the news 5-13

Brad Davis

unbelievable
Parents hope to get a word in after son's truancy flap - News - Charleston Daily Mail - West Virginia News and Sports -: "Beth, 30, and her husband, Justin, 31, went to Kanawha Circuit Court last week not knowing what to expect.

Their 6-year-old son, Nathan, had missed 15 days of school, but only five were considered unexcused under school system policy, and they were being brought up on truancy charges.

They were shocked when they received the notices, one addressed to each of them, from the court. The notices arrived at their St. Albans area home on April 10."
a new approach: support
New Program Trying to Keep Kids in Classroom - WSAZ.com - Severe Weather and Breaking News Coverage in West Virginia, Kentucky and Ohio.: "The problem is we were doing the same thing over and over again with truancy," Moore said. “It kept being the same families over and over and over, every year."

So Moore started a nine-week program as an alternative to probation. Kids and their parents stay after school every Tuesday and have discussions on a variety of topics, with the main goal being to get these families to embrace the value of being responsible.
it's child labor
New Bill Would Take Away Welfare Benefits If Child Under 16 Is Truant - News - WIN 98.5 Your Country - WNWN FM - Battle Creek, MI: "The measure is designed to codify current policies of the Department of Human Services. Under the bill, the family of a student, younger than 16, who's truant could lose its cash benefits through the Family Independence Program. If a child who's 16 or older is truant, the child would be removed from the program. The House Families, Children and Seniors Committee voted along party lines, 6-3, Wednesday to move the bill to the House floor. According to MIRS, Kurtz said the measure was about accountability, adding that the positive actions they’re now taking have to continue, and if they follow through on this legislation, the DHS will be held accountable too." 
DHS Deputy Director Terrence Beurer testified that the department has taken steps to proactively fight truancy. Employees, he said, reach out to families that run the risk of having truant students and try to resolve issues that could be causing the truancy. Ray Holman, legislative liaison for United Auto Workers Local 6000, spoke against the proposal. Holman, whose union represents 17,000 state workers, said the measure is punitive and they think the Human Services department should be in the business of reaching out and helping struggling families.
what's up with this?
Texas Truancy Bill and School Choice - WatchdogWire - Texas: "However, there are some issues the bill does not address that may draw critical attention.
The truancy bill does not adequately address a student removed from a school by parents who desire to home-school their children. With the controversies surrounding CSCOPE in Texas and CCSSI in other states, more and more parents are seeking affordable alternatives to public education. Some parents may see this law as an infringement upon individual natural rights. 
The current education law in effect is available here. Reading it over may leave some citizens believing the code outlaws home-schooling and school choice.
truancy prosecution ruled overreach
High Court says state improperly requested medical records in truancy case - Omaha.com: "LINCOLN — Lisa Siefker has spent two years fighting to get her teenage autistic son to attend school regularly after he violated Nebraska's controversial truancy law. But the 41-year-old Lincoln woman's willingness to cooperate reached a limit when state officials overseeing the case wanted to see her confidential medical records. 
“They were trying to turn it all on me, like it was my fault,” Siefker said.
In an opinion released Thursday, the Nebraska Supreme Court ruled in her favor, saying the state's request for her medical history was an overreach.
 
The high court ruled that state caseworkers can't demand access to a parent's medical records unless they can show such information would help a child at the center of a juvenile court action. Because Siefker was not at fault for her son's truancy, a juvenile court judge improperly ordered her to turn over records related to her past treatment for an anxiety disorder. 
The ruling raised serious questions about the state's practice of requiring parents to waive privacy rights when their children are caught in the juvenile justice system. "
tell me again what we gain by jailing a mother of three for truancy?
Lemoore hosts state truancy summit: "Gonzales said many school districts are unsure about how to address truancy because they are being discouraged to do anything about it. A truant is defined as a student who has been absent for longer than a 30-minute period.
“A lot of these schools’ district attorneys aren’t supporting it,” he said. “They aren’t being zealous about prosecuting it and making sure there are consequences to these students’ actions. These schools are just left on their own to deal with these problems.” 
This isn’t the case with Kings County, however. District Attorney Greg Strickland, who spoke at the summit, has been active in prosecuting truancy cases, even sending a mother to jail in 2011 for allowing her three children to miss about a month of school.
truancy and special needs
Texas Lawmakers Take On Truancy Laws - NYTimes.com: "SAN ANTONIO — When she can focus on class, Rachel Hebert thrives as a student in the Northside Independent School District here. But Rachel, 17, has cerebral palsy, and medical complications often keep her from getting to school." 
When she was accused of truancy and summoned to a municipal court in October, her family was shocked. Elizabeth Hebert, her mother, was charged as a “parent contributing to nonattendance.” If they had failed to show up for court, both could have been arrested. The case was dropped after their lawyer sought the release of Rachel’s attendance records. 
“She’s not truant. She’s not shopping and running around in the streets,” Ms. Hebert said of her daughter. “I don’t feel like it’s the school’s fault. The regulations need to change. 
Several parents and advocacy organizations say that the state’s truancy laws are redundant and overly punitive, and that they unfairly target students like Rachel. The criticism is being heard in the Legislature, where state senators on Thursday passed a bill to change how school districts and courts handle truancy. But some judges and school districts say the proposed changes are too broad. 
again, it's child labor
Michigan families could lose welfare cash if kids miss school under advancing legislation | MLive.com: ""It's not our intent as a department to just kick people off public assistance," Terrence Buerer, DHS deputy director for field operations, told members of the House Families, Children and Seniors Committee. "That's not what we're about. What we're about is trying to break the cycle of poverty, generational poverty. We want to move families to self-sufficiency.""
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