EBR cracking down on truancy as school starts
BATON ROUGE - With the school year now under way, the Family and Youth Service Center is tracking attendance and cracking down on truancy.
The Baton Rouge center offers counseling, parenting classes, substance abuse programs and other resources. Director Roxon Welch says it's up to the parent to make sure their kids stay in school.
"Ultimately, they're the parent, and they're responsible for making sure that these children have a future," she said.
Welch says the center will keep a close eye on school attendance for children with a history of truancy.
"We're going to be on the top of that from the very beginning, and so after five unexcused absences the parents are going to be seeing us," she said. "Because this is something they've got to understand is critical. It's critical for our whole community."
One mother, Kecia Coleman, spent six months in jail after her kids missed too many days of school. Coleman says jail time changed her life for the better.
"It's the best thing that could have happened to me actually. I realize that it's really one of the best things," she said. "It was a bad situation, and I made the best of it and tried to change my life around."
Now Coleman makes sure her kids go to school with the help of the Family and Youth Service Center.
"That's the best thing. I'm able to wake my kids up and get them to school every morning. It's a wonderful feeling that I can't express. It's a wonderful feeling though," said Coleman. "It just makes me smile so much because I know where I've come from. It hasn't been an easy road, but it makes me smile a whole bunch."
The center plans to organize a truancy roundup in September to arrest parents who don't send their kids to school.