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Student truancy crackdown urged

ALBANY, Ga. -- Dougherty County District Attorney Greg Edwards says truancy in the public schools is nothing but trouble for students and the community and it's time to do something about it.

Edwards offered an example of those troubles in the form of a grand jury indictment for statutory rape. According to the indictment Wednesday, Kevin Antron Harper, 31, is accused of having sexual relations with a 12-year-old girl on Dec. 20.

"She was supposed to be in school," Edwards said. "He mother drove her to the bus stop, but (the girl) didn't get on the bus. Instead she became collateral damage in a truancy issue."

Georgia law requires all children between the ages of 6 and 16 to attend school during normal hours, and Edwards said when that doesn't happen the parent can be prosecuted in criminal court or the child can be prosecuted in juvenile court. Unfortunately, the problem may be bigger than current resources available to attack it.

"These students are skipping school illegally," Edwards said. "They gravitate toward hanging out in people's houses. Often in those situations, kids commit crimes or become victims themselves."

Edwards advocates uniformed, full-time truancy officers to help solve the problem, and at a Tuesday meeting of the Student Attendance Protocol Committee, members were in agreement.

The committee is made up of all the county judges, Edwards said, as well as law enforcement officials, school board members, health officials and others. According to Edwards, the committee meets at least twice each year.

"Because of cases like (Harper's), the committee has agreed we have to crack down hard," Edwards said.

Comments

waltspecht 1 year, 3 months ago

This will only affect those parents that have something to begin with. Does anybody really see some of these Parents paying fines or doing jail or community service? If it happens, where will the money come from, and who will supposedly look after the other children while the Parent does their time. I have seen it all to often. This is unenforcable for probably the parents of 80% of the problem students. Plus from what I understand the schools are better places because of some these students cutting classes. The attendance programs at many of the High Schools are jokes, according to posters here and casual conversation. Mosley has a lot more he will have to clean up because the student attendance share contribution currently outweighs the need for attendance control.

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VietVet1 1 year, 2 months ago

But they still get their "Letter of Attendance" don't they? By skipping school - two things: 1) they start early motherhood & welfare 2) they're not in school annoying those that want to learn something.

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FryarTuk 1 year, 2 months ago

Damned, Greg. Welcome to the party! Better late than never.

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VietVet1 1 year, 2 months ago

If you're referring to me as "Greg" - - I'm not.

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erock 1 year, 2 months ago

When you put the parents in jail enough, it begins to hit them in the pocket. When they can't do their dirt cause they're locked up, this becomes unacceptable. Most would rather have their hands chopped off than to part with five dollars. I believe you'll see attendance go up, because with jail time looming over them, they'll drop the kids off at school themselves. I think they are on to something. I've always thought that truancy was the root of the problems that plaque Albany. Holding the parents accountable is the answer. Stick to your guns and don't make any exceptions.

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