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Parents in Court for Truant Children

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HILLSBOROUGH — While 'playing hooky' might be fun for children, four Orange County parents didn't think it was veryfunny when they were calledto court Monday. They were there to answer for their children's chronicabsenteeism from school.

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

Leonard Mayo, principal of C.W. Stanford Middle School, filed criminalchargesagainst the four parents who apparently did not comply with guidelines last week. One of the children in question has missed34 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 twoof her daughters have skipped over 20 days of school. She says she doesn'tknow what more she can do.

Mayo says Monday's courtappearances came only after several preliminary measures had been taken tocurb the absenteeism.

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

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

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