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Dothan City Schools cracking down on truancy

(WTVY)
Published: Oct. 19, 2017 at 5:21 PM CDT
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The Dothan City School System is cracking down on truancy. School officials are reminding parents and students of the consequences of not going to class.

Shona Fletcher is the Parental Involvement Specialist at Dothan High School. She says there are already a few students with 10 or more unexcused absences this school year.

"Every time a child misses a day out of school, it’s a day they miss of instructional time. If they're missing instructional time, they get behind,” said Fletcher.

Even though the school year just started, some students have used all of their available unexcused absences. Dothan City Schools allows for 10 unexcused and 10 with a parent note.

"We want to cut down the ‘all-day’ absences."

After three unexcused absences, the parent is contacted. After four, it results in an in school suspension. Five, a student receives a referral to the Houston County Truancy Prevention Program. Once they’ve had 6 or 7 unexcused absences, they are referred to early warning court. Any more than that, a student is referred to the Houston County Juvenile Probation Office.

But, the consequences can become even bigger.

"Some parents have gone to jail for 5-90 days and pay between a $100-500.00 fine. If a teenager gets so many, we can take their driver’s license,” added Fletcher.

She says there are parents out there who work all day and have a hard time keeping track of their children's schedules. Including herself, she has two children but when she has time, she can pull up their attendance and grades on the school's website through Parent Portal.

There is an attendance workshop at Dothan High School from 5:30 until 7:00 pm. They'll teach busy parents how to set up a Parent Portal to check their child's grades and attendance while they're at work.