In part of an ongoing effort to end chronic absenteeism in Guthrie Public Schools, the City of Guthrie recently enacted an ordinance to address truancy. The ordinance will allow local law enforcement officers to write tickets to parents of students under the age of 18. If the parent is found guilty, the municipal court would then levy punishment for the crime. The first offense carries a fine not to exceed $50. The second offense carries a fine not to exceed $100 and the fine for the third or subsequent offense shall not exceed $250. The guilty party would also be responsible for court costs. This is similar to state law but allows the City of Guthrie to have jurisdiction over the crime.
Recent studies have shown that chronically absent kindergarteners scored 20% lower in reading and math in later grades with that gap growing. They further indicate chronically absent students are twice as likely to be retained in a grade and twice as likely to be suspended by the end of their 7th grade year. Chronically absent 3rd graders were less likely to be reading on grade level and Junior High students who are chronically absent are more likely to become high school dropouts.
Quotes from GPS Superintendent Dr. Mike Simpson:
We thank the City of Guthrie for their continued support. The partnership we enjoy toward our common goal of a better community is something we truly appreciate. We would also like to thank District Attorney Laura Austin-Thomas and her staff. We have been working with them for the last two years and hope this will provide an additional option. The goal is not to levy fines, but rather to make sure our students are at school so they may receive the best education possible. There are many measures that we take to work with families before this measure would even be considered. This ordinance is the product of meetings with the City Manager, City Attorney, District Attorney, local law enforcement and GPS administrators.
Quotes from Guthrie Mayor Steve Gentling:
The city is pleased to have been a part of the Guthrie Public Schools truancy guideline update. The dialogue between GPS Administration, the District Attorney's office, city administration, our city attorney and judge and ultimately the city council clearly focused on one thing: providing a quality educational experience for all students.
To view the ordinance click scroll down.