ROCHESTER, NH (FOX 25 / MyFoxBoston.com) The parents and guardians of children who are chronically absent or tardy from school will soon be slapped with a court summons in one New Hampshire town.
Rochester Police say they are working with the school district to summons dozens of parents whose children have missed 15 school days or more. Beginning in January, parents will have the option to enter a diversion program, plead guilty and pay a fine, or take the case to court.
The superintendent's office tells FOX 25 that between 30 and 40 students at the high school level have missed more than 15 school days this year. They add that 88 students in all grades have been absent for more than 15 days.
Rochester Schools Superintendent Michael Hopkins says the rise in truancy rates was directly affected by the state's decision to increase the drop-out age to 18 requiring students to stay in school longer.
Hopkins also pointed out that truancy not only affects the individual who is skipping, but it also slows down the entire class because teachers have to back track with material.
"I really think it's just harder for everyone to realize how important it is to show up – just like showing up for work. I think there's more absenteeism in work," Hopkins said.
Rochester officials say that since the elimination of a program known as CHINS, or the Children in Need of Services, cases of truancy both in their town and statewide have increased. This new policy is their way of making residents aware of the ongoing issue.