Halifax Schools Beef Up Truancy Procedure

Nov 8, 2011

Education officials in Halifax County are stepping up efforts to hold parents accountable for student attendance. The county court system will host monthly truancy sessions starting at the end of November. Many other counties have similar programs. The move comes as dropout and truancy rates continue to rise in Halifax County's three school districts. County District Attorney Melissa Pelfrey says those districts don't always take the same steps to address truancy.

Melissa Pelfrey: "Once cases are taken to court, we'll kind of know what efforts have been made, because one of the things that's required is they have to make sure that parents were not trying to make their children go to school. Because, obviously, if that's the case and they are making these good-faith efforts, then it wouldn't fit for criminal court involvement."
Parents will get warnings after their students rack up six unexplained absences. Cases go to Pelfrey after 10 absences. Parents who are convicted of violating the state's compulsory school attendance law face up to 120 days in jail.