Tough New Truancy Policy - WTOC-TV: Savannah, Beaufort, SC, News, Weather & Sports

08/12/05

Tough New Truancy Policy

Officials crack down on truancy. Officials crack down on truancy.

School starts Monday in Chatham County and you will want to make sure your child is in class every day. There's a combined effort of campus and city police who plan to get tough on truancy.

They say the issue of truancy is not just a parent or police problem any more. It is a crime and they are going to make it easier than ever before for the community to get involved and keep kids in class.

Truancy hotline
for Chatham County
644-8128

This is student Ganzie Outten's last chance to run errands with his mom during the week, at least for a while. At this time on Monday, he'd better be in school. And the board of education and Savannah-Chatham police have teamed up this year to make sure of it.

"Truancy has been one of our youth crime problems, and we want to stop it and do it in an aggressive way," said Chief Dan Flynn of the Savannah-Chatham Metropolitan Police Department.

That means random truancy sweeps. And they've even set up a truancy hotline: 644-8128. If you see a student skipping school, you just call the number, and police say they will respond.

"Our message to kids, to students, is go to school," said Chief Flynn. "If you are out of school, the community is going to find you, police are going to find you."

And take you back to class.

Sherry Outten says it sounds good to her. "My son knows if he does not stay in school and get his education, I'm very upset."

All kids between six and 16 are required by law to be in school. If they're not, they are committing a crime. In more ways than one.

"It's a crime against yourself and the community," said juvenile court Judge LeRoy Burke. "It robs the community and it robs you of your potential to earn and robs you of your potential to grow."

There's another way to look at it: 75 percent of all incarcerated criminals had a long history of cutting class.

Ganzie say he knows his future depends on being in school. "Nowadays, you can't just have a high school education, you need to continue your education and go to college."

Police say if more students have that attitude it will make their job a lot easier.

You can learn more about the new truancy protocol and how it effects parents and students online: click here.

It all takes effect on Monday.

Reported by: Michelle Paynter, mpaynter@wtoc.com

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