The Logan County District Attorney’s Office in cooperation with the Guthrie Public Schools announced today a partnership effort to decrease truancies and consistent tardys in the Guthrie school system.
Superintendent, Mike Simpson, said, “It is very difficult for our public school to fulfill its educational mission when children are absent. Not only do absent children miss instructional time, they miss social and nutritional opportunities. We know that making school attendance a priority is a habit that should be emphasized and reinforced early and that means we have to encourage parents as much as or more than children in order to improve this situation.”
District Attorney Laura Austin Thomas says her office has created a program that has a truancy committee meeting monthly made up of school officials, the district attorney’s office and community partners.
“It is simple to file criminal charges against parents who do not get their children to school, but it has never proven very effective in solving the problem,” Thomas said. “Should a truancy matter be referred to my office we will be offering parents a deferred prosecution agreement program before the filing of criminal charges.”
Parents would be required to agree to attend programs designed to resolve any barriers to their child getting to school on time and staying in school. These interventions might include individual or family counseling, drug evaluations and treatments, transportation assistance, parent teacher conferences and/or school testing among other things.
“Our goal is to ensure our children are educated and productive. We believe this intensive of a program is something that hasn’t been tried before and we are excited to see to it be successful,” Thomas concluded with.