Truancy: It’s a Bigger Problem Than You Might Think

Convincing them to stay in school  –  Absenteeism rate is far too high at Muncie Central High School with the Senior class – and it’s not uncommon at other schools, too.  I asked Principal Chris Walker to explain what happens with a student wants to drop out

He explained the conversation he had with a young man

The student, and his mom were in that meeting

And the outcome

Hear the entire interview with Principal Walker on our podcast page now.


We covered the story about what’s been called chronic absenteeism at Muncie Central High School – with the Senior class.  We reached out to Delaware County Prosecutor Eric Hoffman for comments, and here’s his full statement:  “It has been said that “education is the passport to the future, for tomorrow belongs to those who prepare for it today.”  However, in order for a child to receive that passport, they must regularly attend school.  Truancy can result in damaging and far-reaching consequences that can harm our youth in ways that they and we may not yet fully comprehend.  Many research studies indicate that habitual truancy is a significant multifaceted social problem with an equally diverse array of consequences including school failure, drop out, involvement in criminal activity, and even development of chronic disease.  Truancy often serves as a bridge to juvenile delinquency and future criminal behavior.  Failing to address truancy will have negative repercussions throughout the child’s life and on society as a whole.  I cannot underscore how important it is for children to attend school.

In Indiana, a statute called the Compulsory School Attendance Law requires children to attend school.   If they fail to do so, the law provides two separate, yet similar, enforcement mechanisms based upon the fact scenario.

In the first scenario, the child fails to attend school despite the parent or guardian’s, best efforts.  If a child refuses to go to school or skips school and the parent or guardian has exhausted all efforts, there is help available.  The parent or guardian must contact the school and the juvenile probation department for help. In this instance, the child will receive a referral to juvenile probation.  I will file a delinquency petition in juvenile court which will require the child and the parent or guardian to appear in juvenile court where the truancy issue will be addressed by the judge with the ultimate goal of getting the child to get back into school to receive the education that they desperately need.  The bottom line is that the child can go to school voluntarily or I will seek the coercive intervention of the juvenile court to force them to go to school.

In the second scenario, the parent or guardian allows the child to be truant or looks the other way.  Safeguarding the future of our youth requires the cooperation of parents and guardians to ensure consistent school attendance, which is vital to helping students to master the academic skills necessary to succeed in life.   Parents and guardians have the absolute legal responsibility to ensure that their children attend school.  If a parent or guardian fails to ensure their child’s school attendance, the parent or guardian may be criminally prosecuted for the crime of Failing to Ensure School Attendance, a Class B misdemeanor.  The penalty for a Class B misdemeanor carries a penalty of up to 180 days in jail and a fine of up to $1,000.00 (one thousand dollars).  If there is evidence that a parent or guardian knowingly deprives the child of an education as required by law, the parent or guardian may be prosecuted for Neglect of a Dependent, a Level 6 felony which carries a penalty of up to two and a half (2.5) years in jail and a fine of up to $10,000.00 (ten thousand dollars).  I will not only file a delinquency petition against the truant child, but I will file criminal charges against the parent as well.

As Prosecuting Attorney of Delaware County, I am committed to enforcing Indiana’s truancy laws.  I look forward to working with the various school corporations and the Delaware County Juvenile Probation Department to ensure that the truancy laws are enforced.  It is my hope that juvenile probation will diligently work with these children to address their truancy and correct their course of conduct.  I realize that many students do not read the paper.  Therefore, to parents, teachers, and school administrators: print a copy of this editorial and share it with your child/student.  They need to know that I will not hesitate to file charges in these types of cases as the facts warrant.  Attendance in school not only benefits the individual child, but our community as a whole.  Let’s strive for reading, writing, and arithmetic and not guns, drugs, and violence.  The education of our youth is of great importance and far too much hangs in the balance.”


WLBC News Bytes:

A House bill calls for the St. Joseph County Veterans Affairs Clinic to be renamed as the Jackie Walorski VA Clinic – waiting for President’s signature – she died in a car accident on August 3rd.

Once every four years, The International Violin Competition of Indianapolis – they’re down to the six finalists now.

TIME CHANGE FOR TODAY: the Reminisce Band Performing at Westminster Village Muncie is 6-9pm, instead of 7pm to 10pm – Bring your lawn chairs.


How to spot “fake news” presentation from 3 to 5 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 24, at Anderson Public Library.  The public is invited to attend. Admission is free.  Reps from Indiana University’s Media,  CNN, Ball State’s School of Journalism will be on a panel moderated by Scott Underwood, editor of The Herald Bulletin.  This informational program is sponsored by The League of Women Voters of Anderson/Madison County and One Nation Indivisible of Madison County.


Walk to End Alzheimer’s is Saturday at Canan Commons in Muncie.  Event opens: 9:30 a.m., Ceremony: 10:30 a.m., Walk to Follow.  The Muncie and Anderson areas are covered by this one event.


More on Calling Men to Pray event – at Muncie’s McCullough Park Oct. 1 at 9 a.m. – here’s Denny M.

Hear the entire interview Sunday at 6:30 a.m.’s Community Focus on WLBC, and WMUN –plus, the podcast is playable now on WLBC.com.


Don’t mess with this guy:  Wednesday morning he had gone out, but came back to find two men he didn’t know hiding in the bedroom. He grabbed his gun and fired two shots.  One of the burglars ran – but was caught later.  Another one stayed till cops got there.  A third suspect was arrested later.  Three in cuffs – and no one was hurt by the shots.


WLBC News Bytes:

Anderson University has announced the honorees of its annual alumni awards to be celebrated at this year’s Homecoming event on October 15 at 5 p.m. in York Performance Hall.

The Indianapolis Zoo celebrated a couple of birthdays Wednesday! Two of its lions, Sukari and Enzi, turned 7.


They call it the “Hoosier Promise- College Tour,” a statewide effort by the Indiana Democratic Party and its candidates to meet young voters where they are, register then to vote, and discuss the issues they care about.  Yesterday, the Ball State event happened, and a release said Jeannine Lee Lake (Candidate for Indiana’s Fifth Congressional District), Melanie Wright (Candidate for Indiana Senate – District 26), and others were scheduled to appear.


Woof Boom Radio sports plans tonight – Indianapolis Tech at Anderson on Oldies 101 – Monroe Central at Wes Del on WMUN.  Regular FM’s AM’s streams and TV for the latter.  BSU football on the road Saturday with a 5 p.m. pregame.  Colts Sunday – 12 noon pregame on regular channels, and streams, too.


WLBC News Bytes:

The Indiana Republican Party says U.S. Senator Tim Scott of South Carolina will headline its annual fall dinner on November 3, at the JW Marriott in downtown Indianapolis.

The Children’s Museum has announced that it will be offering free museum admission Sunday – register for free tickets.


The Indiana Criminal Justice Institute (ICJI) awarded $67 million in federal grants to more than 190 public and non-profit entities through the Victims of Crime Act (VOCA) program. The funding will be used to provide direct services and assistance to crime victims throughout the state.  Some WLBCland awards:

Delaware

A Better Way Services, Inc. $1,652,911

Delaware County CASA Program $202,976

Muncie Police Department $290,520

 

Grant

CASA of Grant County $441,044

Blackford Mental Health, Inc. $567,867

Prosecutor’s Office $110,223

Sheriff’s Department $30,625

Marion Police Department $72,878

Grant The Child Advocacy Center of Grant County Indiana, Inc. DBA

First Light $127,927

 

Hamilton

Advocates for Children and Families, Inc. $652,023

Hamilton Aspire Indiana, Inc. $660,895

Hamilton Prevail Inc. of Hamilton County $1,092,687

 

Henry

Safe At Home Inc $182,059

 

Howard

CASA Program of Howard County, Inc. $64,000

Howard Family Service Association of Howard County, Inc. $128,152

Howard Howard County Courts Probation Department $250,444

 

Madison

Alternatives Inc. of Madison County $527,418

Anderson Police Department $59,977

CASA Program of Madison County Indiana, Inc. $698,193

Community Hospital of Anderson and Madison County, Inc. $46,532

County Prosecutor’s Office $394,220

County Sheriff’s Department $141,853

Grace Horizon $202,048

 

Statewide

Family and Social Services Administration $194,658

Statewide Indiana State Police $240,000

Statewide Indiana Youth Services Association $1,767,754

Statewide Mental Health Association in Indiana, Inc. $850,000

Statewide Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) $177,230


We promised you more this morning on next weekend’s Calling Men to Pray event in Muncie

That’s Julius Anderson.  Oct. 1, at McCullough Park Muncie – all ages welcome.  Hear the entire interview Sunday on WLBC, and WMUN The Talk of Muncie – at 6:30 a.m. – it’s on our podcast page, now, too.