Get those kids to school!

Kennesaw passed an ordinance this week to help Cobb County schools cut down on truancy.
Kids can’t hang out in public places during the time they should be in school. They get a warning the first time they’re caught and could face fines and other penalties with repeat offenses.
I often see kids walking around when they should be in school. Yes, some could be home school students, but not all of them.
School officials often say they don’t have the legal authority to stop a child walking around and force them back to school.
When I was a reporter in Florida, I spent a day following around a superintendent. When he saw a kid walking away from a school he stopped the student and made the boy call his mom. She gave the superintendent permission to drag the teen back to school.
Few officials have the time to drive around looking for kids who cut school.
A daytime curfew may help, but what more can be done? Is this something a city should get involved in or do schools need to put more responsibility back on students and their parents?

17 comments Add your comment

high school teacher

March 19th, 2009
9:50 am

Smart skippers will simply go somewhere outside of Kennesaw to hang out. I see this as nothing but a headache for law enforcement. If the school systems (and the state for that matter)held to their policies about receiving no credit or no driver’s licenses for poor attendance, or sending parents to jail for poor attendance, an ordinance of this nature is unnecessary. Instead, what will happen is a kid on his way back to school after an orthodontist appt, who decides to run into Chick-fil-A for a sandwich, will be fined.

V for Vendetta

March 19th, 2009
10:50 am

I’ve got an idea: Let’s find a way to legislate that they have to be at school, can’t walk around, have a curfew, can’t listen to offensive music, can’t watch offensive movies, can’t talk louder than 4.7 decibles, can’t say objectionable words, can’t blink more than six times per minute, can’t say the word “boggle” on Wednesdays, and can’t wear clothes that anyone in the universe disagrees with.

Too bad we can’t legislate common sense.

Here’s a novel thought: Who gives a rat’s posterior whether or not students attend school. How about that? Perhaps, if we eliminate compulsory attendance and focus only on the kids who WANT to be there, then the school environment will improve exponentially. Later in life, when those apathetic dropouts with ZERO accountability run into one of their former classmates on the street and ask him or her for a dollar, they’ll be spurned like the garbage they are. Common sense jumped ship a long time ago, eh?

Don’t enforce attendance

Don’t fine parents

Don’t do anything but arrest the kids who act like criminals. A good, long stint in the clink will open their eyes. And if it doesn’t, good riddance to them. It’s a good thing we have all these politicians to think for us. They’ve legislated accountability right out of our society.


March 19th, 2009
12:39 pm

Bark! Bark! But no bite. They will never enforce this law. Another waste of politicans time for PR.

jim d

March 19th, 2009
1:53 pm

another do gooder, power hungry politicos attempt to strip americans of their liberties.


March 19th, 2009
2:11 pm

jim d – Are you saying that children have some “right” to skip school? In other words, are you saying that you believe that school should be “optional” for all children, that children don’t need an education? …..maybe that the parents want their 7 year old to work rather than attend school?

jim d

March 19th, 2009
2:14 pm

when you criminalize a 17 yr. old for cutting class I have a problem. there is no law requiring them to be in school

high school teacher

March 19th, 2009
2:33 pm

The scene is a holding cell in Kennesaw.

Criminal 1: Hey, you, what are you in here for?

Criminal 2: I stole a car. Hey, you, what are you in here for?

Criminal 3: I tried to rob the bank. How about you, kid?

Criminal 4: I cut class today.


March 19th, 2009
2:35 pm

Perhaps schools should be concentrating on having curriculum which actually interests students… of course standardized testing makes that near impossible, because teachers having freedom to design units to thier specific audiences are impossible with making everyone under the same “standard”. Besides, Jim and high school teacher have a point… it would be better if the govt stayed out of the cutting school one… like the idea of making them call their parents though: oh and jim d… 17 is still not 18, they still have to have a legal guardian.

jim d

March 19th, 2009
2:51 pm

20-2-690.1.(a) Mandatory attendance in a public school, private school, or home school program shall be required for children between their “sixth and sixteenth” birthdays. Such mandatory attendance shall not be required where the child has successfully completed all requirements for a high school diploma.(b) Every parent, guardian, or other person residing within this state having control or charge of any child or children during the ages of mandatory attendance as required in subsection (a) of this Code section shall enroll and send such child or children to a public school, a private school, or a home study program that meets the requirements for a public school, a private school, or a home study program; and “such child shall be responsible for enrolling in and attending” a public school, a private school, or a home study program that meets the requirements for a public school, a private school, or a home study program under such penalty for noncompliance with this subsection as is provided in Chapter 11 of Title 15, unless the child́s failure to enroll and attend is caused by the child́s parent, guardian, or other person,


March 19th, 2009
4:21 pm

This ordinance would be too difficult to enforce. Gov’t will focus time and money on all sorts of issues other than the real one. The problem is that Georgia’s curriculum is in the toilet. We need to find out why these kids don’t want to be in school. Teachers tend to know the answer to this but no one wants to listen. Too many are people a busy putting the blame on teachers rather than working with them to solve the problem.


March 19th, 2009
8:55 pm

I am not convinced that we should require 17 year olds to stay in school. Perhaps it’s blasphemous for an educator to go against the party message, but let’s think for a minute about why. First, 17 year olds that don’t want to be in school disrupt school and take away from the education of others who want to learn. Second, the graduation rate myth that has been hyped in recent years says that the problem is a “crisis”. This so-called crisis has more to do with how our society does not instill in its youth a value for education. We try to make every student fit into one mold. How unAmerican is that? Third, instead of criminalizing the teens’ activity during the day, put them to work. Create job programs and ways for the kids to learn a trade. But it is time for us to focus more energy on the kids who want to learn.


March 19th, 2009
8:57 pm

Truant kids over a certain age (12?) but under the mandatory attendance law should be sent to YDC or some bootcamp to get some discipline in their lives. Parents of kids under 12 skipping should spend a couple of nights in jail for each skip.

We can’t teach kids who only drop in occasionally.

I am tired of folks saying it is because the school curriculum isn’t interesting. It really doesn’t matter if it is or not. We all have things to learn which are not as cool as the codes to a video game. At my school teachers stand on their heads to entertain and enlighten. The school is not a Wii. Nor is the world of work.


March 20th, 2009
9:14 am

OMG! The curriculum isn’t interesting! I am amazed! My little 6th graders love learning grammar. We can’t teach jut what they are interested in. Sex and video games won’t get you to far in life. lol


March 20th, 2009
9:48 am

jim d- At what age, then do you feel that school should be “optional”?

Keep in mind that I feel that starting with High School, a public/free education should be a priviledge. In other words, a student would have to pass an entrance exam in order to get in and also they must maintain standards (of attendence and grades) in order to remain. Otherwise, the student can get a job, learn a trade, etc. A GED would still be an option.

Before High School, I feel that public/free education should be required and really focus on the basics of the core subjects – math, science, English, and social studies. Every citizen needs these basic skills/knowledge to function in society. The other subjects (art, music, PE, etc.) should take a back set in my opinion – this means spend less than half the time that is spent on the core subjects.

Barbara Rothschild

March 20th, 2009
10:10 am

Well, sex could get you a job as a stripper or an escort, I suppose.


March 21st, 2009
10:20 am

Here’s why this law will never work:

A policeman sits out on I-75 can probably write four traffic citations per hour and generate about $500-600 in revenue. Catch a truant kid in the mall, you will have to bring him down to the station to process and there is no fines until they get caught multiple times. Very little revenue generation.

Where do you think the city/county manager will have his policemen stationed? That’s right, out on the roads and interstates.

We’ve gone from education in this country being considered a privilege, to a right, to a mandartory requirement. Much like the proverbial “how to cook a frog” adage, each time the government kicks up the heat, it gets worse for the involved parties.

jim d

March 23rd, 2009
2:11 pm


School is currently an option at 16, I’ve no problem with that.