Hamilton County considers discipline for truant students' parents

Hamilton County considers discipline for truant students' parents

May 17th, 2009 by Matt Wilson in News

Parents of Hamilton County students who are absent from school five days or more in a school year soon may have busier weekends - picking up trash.

On Wednesday, the County Commission will consider a resolution requiring parents to pay a price for a child's truancy.

State law gives juvenile judges the option to require parents of "unruly" students to pay a $50 fine or do five hours of community service. The commission will vote whether to provide a van for the court so parents can be taken to pick up trash on the weekend.

"It's something that we need to do," said Commissioner Larry Henry, chairman of the commission's Security and Corrections Committee. "The issue about truancy is something that's going to have to be dealt with and it's going to have to be the parents taking responsibility for it."

Mr. Henry said his one concern regarded whether a single van would be enough to transport all the parents. Commissioners have asked school officials for data on how many parents would be affected.

Commissioner Greg Beck said he wants to see figures to show just how big Hamilton County's truancy problem is, in both public and private schools.

"I just don't want it to be an exclusive program for people in the inner city," he said.

The program should probably focus on parents of elementary students, Mr. Beck said. By the time students are in middle and high school, parents may not have the ability to control their kids, he said.

Mr. Henry said the judge will decide each case individually and would take those issues into account.