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Parents required to attend workshops to help truant kids

4 years ago October 04, 2010 Oct 4, 2010 Monday, October 04 2010 Monday, October 04, 2010 4:16:28 PM CDT in News
Source: WBRZ
By: Sarah Rosario, Heather Harel

Letters have been sent home to parents of nearly 2,000 East Baton Rouge students for having five or more days of unexcused absences at school. Parents are now required to attend early warning workshops to help change the behavior of their truant kids.

"I probably just be sleeping and don't want to get up. Just want to sleep all day," said Eric Ricard.

Ricard's mother, Nataya Ricard, said the blame should not be handed over to her.

"I'm involved with them, and I make sure they go to school, but with him, he got into a fight with a boy who was bullying him and kept picking," said Ricard.

The early warning meetings give parents a chance to explain why their kids weren't in school and give assistance to those who may need help.

"Gives them a chance maybe not to go to jail, pay a fine or anything like that, and I like it. I think it's a good idea," said Ricard.

The highest population of truancy is in middle school, which is why the truancy prevention initiative is geared towards younger students. District Attorney Hillar Moore said the program starts with students in grades K-4.

"I've seen way too many times now children that are killed and are the killers, and when you look at their backgrounds, the large majority are kids who have not been in school," said Moore.

Kids who are found on the streets during school hours are picked up by law enforcement and dropped off at the Truancy Prescott Center. If the absences continue, it's the early warning meetings that will keep students on the right track.

"I'm going to do all my work and not get in trouble," said Ricard.

If students provide a legitimate note from a doctor or parent, those unexcused absences do not count against them.

New figures from the district show 1,905 students missed school since it started in August. The early warning workshops will continue throughout the week at Glen Oaks Senior High School on Tuesday, Scotlandville Magnet High School on Wednesday and Woodlawn High School on Friday.

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