School Truancy

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Barbara Carpenter is a juvenile probation officer for Dothan city and Houston County schools.

Through the early warning program, she meets with dozens of students who miss school regularly and their parents every Wednesday.

Barbara talks with the students and parents to resolve the absences. If that doesn't work, Barbara will refer the child and parent to court referral.

Barbara says when they first began their truancy program, several parents had to go to jail because their children were absent.

She says with the early warning program parents haven't seen jail time, but she says some parents whose children are chronically absent still need harsher punishments.

Parents can be arrested after their children have at least 15 unexcused absences in a school year. They could face up to 90 days in jail and a 100 dollar fine.