Guthrie Public Schools and the Logan County District Attorney’s Office continue to educate and remind parents that they must send their children to school and cut down on truancies. The superintendent says while some parents are taking action, others are not fully cooperating.
“We never want to put parents in jail. We just want their children come to school,” GPS Superintendent Dr. Mike Simpson said at this month’s Board of Education meeting.
Simpson stated the school district has embarked on an attendance initiative with the district attorney. Related article: Logan County DA and GPS enter partnership to decrease truancies in school
Despite efforts during enrollment and meetings with parents, with both the school district and the district attorney’s office, some parents continue to not send their children to school.
Simpson told school board members before the district attorney’s office is involved that school counselors and school resource officers discuss various options, including transportation and health needs.
Afterwards, the first meeting with the district attorney is to learn why the absences are occurring and continue to counsel the family at no cost.
When there are no results, a charge of neglect or refusal to compel child to attend school charge could be filed, according to the Oklahoma statue.
“I can assure you through that has been the item of last resort,” Simpson said. “We have offered a lot of support and assistance to families through a variety of agencies within the community.
“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,” District Attorney Laura Austin Thomas said.
The superintendent said other families have changed their behavior and the children are going to school.
“In our eyes, we can’t teach them if they’re not there. That is a fundamental responsibility of being a parent and the district attorney has been very clear of that with those parents,” Simpson concluded with.