Char-Koosta News

The Official Publication of the Flathead Nation online

Area schools report extreme absenteeism

Failing to send children to school is punishable by law

FLATHEAD RESERVATION — The number of referrals and reports streaming in to various Tribal offices about repeated absences by local students has prompted Tribal offices to work together to address the issue. The Tribal Prosecutor Office, Tribal Juvenile Probation, Tribal Education, Tribal Social Services and Tribal Law and Order have received an unprecedented amount of reports of students not attending school.

“Whether it’s citing a youth for Truancy into Youth Court – or whether it’s charging a parent with the crime of ‘Failure to Send Children to School,’ it’s all about parental responsibility,” says Bevra Jacobson, Tribal Prosecutor.

Parents of school age kids – which means children between the ages of 7 and 15 – are required to get their children to school on a regular consistent basis according to Tribal Law. Parents who repeatedly neglect or refuse to send their children to school can be charged with a crime, which is punishable by up to 10 days in jail for a first offense and up to 60 days in jail for a second or subsequent offense.

Tribal Offices have advised area schools of a procedure to use to report parents who are neglecting their responsibility. “Our office is prepared to charge parents who are under Tribal Court jurisdiction in criminal court if they don’t heed the warning – we don’t want to do it – and its entirely within each parents’ capacity to prevent it – but we will,” says Larry Ginnings, Managing attorney of the Tribal Prosecutor Office.

“Truancy and youth crime go hand-in-hand”, says Ken Clairmont, Director of Probation and Parole. “And area schools will tell you that education and future success are also correlative. Parents of school-aged youths are advised to work together with the schools to give their child every opportunity for success in the future.”

Editor's Note: This version is updated from the print version to correct the age range children must attend school.

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