Wednesday, June 19 2013 10:35 PM EDT2013-06-20 02:35:26 GMT
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Wednesday, June 19 2013 11:02 PM EDT2013-06-20 03:02:43 GMT
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Corydon, IN (WDRB) -- Prosecutor J. Otto Schalk is putting his signature on all 2500 letters that are going out to parents of elementary students in Harrison County.
He says truancy has become a huge problem so he came up with the "Get 'Em in the Classroom" campaign.
Truancy court is already used for grades seven through 12, but this program targets grades one through six. It goes after the parents, not the students.
Schalk says, "It's tough to blame the parents of a 16 or 17 year old who is not going to school. There is absolutely no excuse why a first grader, a second grader should miss 30 to 40 days of school. Unfortunately that's happening here in Harrison County."
He says he expects parents of 250 students to be on the list so far. Children are allowed ten unexcused absences each year without a note, according to the state of Indiana.
Schalk says, "If you look across the state or just southern Indiana, you always have drugs, there's alcohol. Frankly, some of it is laziness. Some of it is they don't like the schools or don't like the certain teacher, so they think that's an excuse to not to come school. Well, that's never an excuse."
When it's a truancy issue before it reaches 10 absences, Schalk says schools will notify his office. He'll meet with parents to discuss options. But, when it gets to 10 or more, he'll seek an arrest warrant. Schalk says depriving your child of an education is a Class D felony in Indiana.
He says, "It'll take a few people getting locked up for the point to get across. Basically everyone who has students in Harrison County who attends schools here need to be put on notice, if you are not sending your kids to school, we are coming after you."
This is the first program of its kind in the area.