Truancy is a big issue in Rutherford County. County School's Attendance Coordinator Tom Delbridge told News Radio WGNS that a lack of attendance is highest in elementary and high schools.
Delbridge said that after five unexcused absences, by Tennessee law parents get a letter.
When letters fail to work and sometimes in coordination with the letters, the schools do home visits to talk to parents face to face.
Juvenile Court Judge Donna Scott Davenport told WGNS that the goal is to keep children in school to graduate.
What is Truancy? The action of staying away from school without good reason; absenteeism.
Truancy Laws in Tennessee:
(Compulsory School Age is 6 Years to the 18th Birthday)
T.C.A. 49-6-3001 - School Age - (c) (1) Every parent, guardian or other person residing within this state having control or charge of any child or children between six (6) years of age and seventeen (17) years of age, both inclusive, shall cause such child or children to attend public or non-public school, and in event of failure to do so, shall be subject to the penalties hereinafter provided. (The courts have ruled that the word "inclusive" requires a child to attend school until the day before his/her eighteenth birthday.)
T.C.A. 49-6-3007 - Attendance and truancy reports. - (e) (1) It is the duty of the principal or teacher of every public, private or parochial school to report promptly to the superintendent, or to the superintendent's designated representative, the names of all children who have withdrawn from school, or who have been absent five (5) days (this means an aggregate of five (5) days during the school year and not necessarily five (5) consecutive days) without adequate excuse. Each successive accumulation of five (5) unexcused absences by a student shall also be reported.
T.C.A. 49-6-3009 - Penalty for Violations - (a) Any parent, guardian or other person who has control of a child, or children, and who violates the provisions of this part commits a Class C misdemeanor.
(b) Each day's unlawful absence constitutes a separate offense.
T.C.A. 40-35-111 - Terms of Imprisonment or Fines - (3) Class C misdemeanor, not greater than thirty (30) days or a fine not to exceed fifty dollars ($50.00), or both, unless otherwise provided by statute.