Tulsa Public Schools to crack down on truancy

Thursday, August 28th 2003, 12:00 am
By: News On 6

Cracking down on kids skipping school. Tulsa Public School leaders say on average, 1,800 of its students are truant each day.

Tulsa Police won't be taking any excuses from kids who are on the streets instead of in school this year. News on 6 anchor Scott Thompson has more on Tulsa's tough new policy.

School hasn't even started for most Tulsa students, but the district is already making plans to boost attendance. They're working with police officers, juvenile court and youth services to put a stop to serial skipping.

They made the announcement Thursday morning during Cleveland Middle School's truancy court. It's not the occasional skipper the district is worried about, but the habitual offenders. Some students called before Judge Deborah Shallcross missed anywhere from 45 to 99 days of school. The "No Excuses" program wants to make sure parents and kids know it's against the law to not attend school.

Police have always had the authority to pick up children who are not in school during the day. But now, instead of taking kids back at school, police will take them to Youth Services of Tulsa where they’ll be questioned and their parents will get a call. Organizers believe keeping kids from cutting class will cut down on juvenile crime. Juvenile Judge Deborah Shallcross, "they have not been in trouble but they're not going to school and you and I know they will be in trouble and one of Chief Been's officers will be picking them up if we don't get them back in school."

Truancy court is relatively new, but the program's working so well they're not only continuing it, but also expanding it to an elementary school.