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      State cracking down on skipping school

      Stay in school. It TMs more than a motto, it's the law.

      In the state of Michigan, school attendance at a public school is mandatory for students between the ages of six and sixteen, unless other qualified educational arrangements are made. Failure to comply can subject a person to 90 days in jail and a $50 fine. New laws also say that parents can also lose State welfare assistance.

      With elementary age students, it's really the parent TMs responsibility to get them to schools. That is why, in elementary school, we can press charges on the the secondary level, the truancy charge is on the student, said Heather Prevo, GTC Truancy Intervention Program.

      State leaders are hoping tougher laws will bring down truancy numbers in the state.

      Here is a list of the number of truancy cases reported to the Michigan Department of Education in the 2010-11 school year:

      Cadillac Area Public Schools -- 152

      Benzie County Central Schools -- 147

      Sault Ste. Marie Area Schools -- 146 Traverse City Area Public Schools -- 126

      Leaders of the GTC Truancy Intervention Program tell 7&4 News truancy is linked to drug use, unplanned pregnancy and Welfare dependency.