Local News

Parents in Court for Truant Children

Posted December 16, 1996 12:00 a.m. EST

— While 'playing hooky' might be fun for children, four Orange County parents didn't think it was very funny when they were called to court Monday. They were there to answer for their children's chronic absenteeism from school.

School policy on student attendance instructs principals to notify parents after three unexpected absences. After six unexcused absences, principals are supposed to war parents they could be prosecuted if the truancy isn't justified under state and local attendance guidelines.

Leonard Mayo, principal of C.W. Stanford Middle School, filed criminal charges against the four parents who apparently did not comply with guidelines last week. One of the children in question has missed 34 days of school so far this school year.

Paula Adams of Mebane is a mother of five. She says she is separated, out of work, and gets no child support. Adams was called in because two of her daughters have skipped over 20 days of school. She says she doesn't know what more she can do.

Mayo says Monday's court appearances came only after several preliminary measures had been taken to curb the absenteeism.

Robert Hassle is an attorney representing some of the parents. He says the school system is aiming at the wrong targets.

Some of the parents are angry and say the school should be punishing the students and not the parents. If convicted, the parents could be fined or placed on probation.