Metro schools, courts crack down on student truancy - WAFF-TV: News, Weather and Sports for Huntsville, AL

Metro schools, courts crack down on student truancy

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NASHVILLE, TN (WSMV) -

The new school year just started and already Metro Nashville Public Schools leaders are dealing with a big problem: kids cutting class.

One hundred Nashville students and guardians appeared before a juvenile court judge Friday as the court cracks down on truancy.

Last school year, the district referred more than 1,600 cases to juvenile court. They included cases of truancy, in which the children skip school, and educational neglect, which holds their parents responsible.

"It is difficult. It takes a lot of staff time and preparation, and we have been very, very busy," said Bob Ross, with the juvenile court.

The Metro Student Attendance Center hopes that addressing issues behind truancy will prevent more kids from getting into trouble.

"If they're successful at working our program, in attending the services that the probation officers have put into place, then of course. Then they don't have to enter into the juvenile court system any further," said program director Atica Helms.

A student with four or more unexcused absences may be considered truant under state law.

Truants found guilty Friday were ordered to pay their court fees, attend school for six weeks and come back to court in October.

Those who refuse to comply could be placed in state custody.

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