Truancy crackdown is keeping children in school

Officials in Cheboygan County are cracking down on parents who aren't making sure their children get to school on time.

On Friday, 30 year-old Cheboygan resident, Theresa Duffin, plead guilty to truancy in cheboygan county. The second convicted truancy case in Cheboygan County Common Pleas Court in the past year and one of a dozen made in the past couple of years.

After she let her two sons miss 77 days of school, Duffin received a jail sentence of 90 days, $455 in fines and costs and 13 months of probation.

"You have to provide an education for your child. and, if you don't do so it's a crime and we'll treat it as a crime," said Cheboygan County's Assistant Prosecuting Attorney Aaron Gauthier. "With school buses and with a resource officer that will help get their kids to school, it just boggles my mind as to why it ever has to be prosecuted at all."

Resource Officers like Cheboygan County Sheriff Deputy Ron Fenlon will do anything to get children in their seats on-time and learning.

"Last year I spent the last two months of the school year calling a parent because she was not able to hear the alarm going off," said Fenlon. "And, she was too proud to allow me to buy her an alarm clock."

Cheboygan County officials say most of the problem is not with getting the kids healthy enough or interested enough to go to school, its mostly has to do with the parents.

â??You cooperate with me I'll work with you to get your kids to school,â?? said Fenlon. â??You don't cooperate; I don't have much recourse other than draw up the paperwork and send you to jail.â??

Many hope that parents will help their kids get to school not only to keep themselves out of jail, but to help prevent their children from having problems in the future.

â??Theyâ??re social issues not necessarily learning issues,â?? said Cheboygan Area Schoolsâ?? Superintendant Mark Dombroski. â??But, they may be the reason kids may be acting out and other issues coming forward in todayâ??s population.â??

In Michigan there is no official amount of unexcused absences a child is allowed to have before they become truant.

Officials say parents will likely receive a letters after 5, 10 and 15 unexcused absences.

If you are having a hard time getting your child to school schools are encouraging you to contact your school truancy officer for help.