Police reports surface of parents breaking NC attendance law

Students skip school, parents charged

CHARLOTTE, NC (WBTV) - There are police reports for all types of crimes that happen in Mecklenburg County, including some rare reports.  Several police reports surfaced for parents at Druid Hills Academy and Bruns Academy who violated the North Carolina attendance law.

The law states if a student, under the age of 16, has at least 10 unexcused absences and the parent has been non-compliant, the school district has the right to issue a criminal complaint against that parent.

The punishment is parents could spend 150 days in jail for not getting their kids to school.

Some parents say that's not right.

"A criminal complaint...I don't think so," Bruns Academy parent Ashley Beckwith said. "I think that is going too far."

District Court Judge Donald Cureton Jr. specializes in juvenile law and volunteers in truancy court. The judge says some parents who are issued criminal complaints tend to fall on hard times and can't get their kids to school.

"A lot of them are doing it because they have homelessness issues and poverty issues," Cureton said. "Just not getting their kids there."

Cureton says other times parents don't understand why they should get their kids to school.

"We have some parents who have come in and said I don't care...they are grown," Cureton said. "They should be doing this on their own and it's not my fault they are not coming to school."

The judge says more of the attendance problems happen in high poverty areas.

The new concern is that more police reports of parents breaking the attendance law could potentially increase. The courts and school districts don't want these rare reports to become common.

Judge Cureton says discussions are happening to see what more can be done to help parents know the importance of getting an education. "Part of the truancy court program is trying to get them to understand their role in helping that child be successful," Cureton said.

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