Trouble with Truancy: Keeping Alabama Students in School

A National study shows that one-in-five Alabama students are chronically absent from school. Local experts don’t think those numbers are as high in Dothan City and Houston County Schools, but they are finding ways to be proactive and keep students in the classroom instead of the courtroom.

“If you’re not going to school, if you have goals of your career, or really anything, if you want to go to college, you have to be in school to get there,” states Carter Dozier, a Prevention Specialist at SpectraCare Health Systems in Dothan.

There are plenty of reasons why students stay home from school, but for those who are constantly out of class, or chronically absent, they are in for a rough road ahead.

“Basically that’s like missing two days of school each month and so obviously if you are missing that much school, your headed towards academic failure.”

Two days a month may not seem like a lot of time away from the classroom, but missing that much time can be detrimental to a student’s academic career. If a successful future isn’t enough of an incentive, legal ramifications should be.

According to Alabama Law, parents and students can get in trouble for school absences. In fact, it’s unlawful for parents or guardians to cause a child to fail school in order for them to remain dependent. Guardians can face up to a year in jail and up to a $6,000 fine if they violate this law.

If it is the students who are causing the absences, they can be sent to juvenile court, be put on probation, given electronic monitoring or be put in out-of-home placement.

To help keep students in school and parents out of court, SpectraCare Health Systems is hosting a Twitter Town Hall on Sept. 15.

To participate in the event, use ‘#UBPresent” between 6 p.m. and 7 p.m. to hear why attendance is so important to a panel of professionals.


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