[StBernard] Parents Seeing Enforcement Of Truancy Law

Westley Annis westley at da-parish.com
Thu Nov 19 23:32:42 EST 2009

Parents Seeing Enforcement Of Truancy Law
St. Bernard Arrests 30 Since New Law Enacted

POSTED: 3:57 pm CST November 19, 2009

CHALMETTE, La. -- Law enforcement officials in St. Bernard Parish are
working hard to enforce a new truancy law that went into effect last year,
and so far, around 30 parents have been arrested for their kids being late
or not going to school.

Parents get ample warning, but some say the law isn't fair.

"After, I think it's five, you get in trouble. You can go to jail and I just
think it's crazy," said parent Kelly Bordelon.

Bordelon said the truancy law is a hassle for parents. Students are only
allowed to miss school or be late five times. Her daughter missed three days
of school and was late twice.

"Four of them, I had doctor's notes, but I still got called to see the
officer and everything, and had to come up with proof and all, or I was
going to go jail," Bordelon said.

Bordelon came up with the proof and is in the clear.

But other parents aren't so lucky. Truancy officers said they give parents
plenty of time to get their act together. Parents are called in two or three
times and asked to sign a letter stating they understand they can face jail
time or pay a fine.

"It's kind of a lengthy process, because we kind of give them time to get
everything together, but once we see that they're just not going to do what
they're suppose to do, that's when it goes to an arrest," said St. Bernard
Sheriff's Lt. Lisa Jackson.

The law is designed to keep kids in school and out of any trouble they can
find when they're on the street.

"We feel like if we can get them to school, then we can do our jobs and we
can produce a successful young person who can be a contributing member of
society," said St. Bernard School Superintendent Doris Voiter. "So we want
them in school. We want them with us."

That's the reason parent Sandra Hauppetta supports the truancy law.

"I frankly think it's a good idea because most of the time it's the parent's
fault," she said.

The truancy law applies statewide. So far in St. Bernard Parish, there have
been more than 800 complaints and 30 arrests.

If a parent is arrested, he or she is charged with improper supervision of a
child. Parents can face up to 30 days in jail and/or pay a fine of up to

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