Thursday night, school leaders met at Honeysuckle Middle School to discuss truancy with parents. They argued regular school attendance is the key to success.
Susan Loftin is the Director of Elementary Curriculum at Dothan City Schools. She said, “One of the very first markers of drop out is poor attendance.”
One in ten students misses about a month of school every year. School leaders attributed that to health problems, transportation, and parenting.
"It’s an adult issue and we have to start addressing that, adults to adults,” said Loftin.
Thursday night, school leaders confronted the problem head on. They want to work with parents to get children in the chairs and take away barriers. A child can get behind in school very quickly.
“Attendance is very important at Honeysuckle Middle School because we're learning things every day,” said Scott Faulk, principal at Honeysuckle Middle School.
However, there could be legal consequences for parents if a child repeatedly misses school. Under the Parental Responsibility Act, parents are required to make sure their children attend school regularly.
Judge Butch Binford with the Houston County Circuit Court said, “It’s a misdemeanor offense if you don't have your child at school, and we'll do everything we can to see that, that child goes to school.”
Parents could get up to 90 days community service and their child can be suspended—keeping them further from higher education.
There are three more Truancy Prevention Meetings in the Wiregrass. They are as follows:
September 12th at Houston County High School from 6:00 p.m. – 8:00 p.m.
September 19th at Girard Middle Schools from 6:00 p.m. – 8:00 p.m.
September 26th at Wicksburg High School from 6:00 p.m. – 8:00 p.m.