By Matt Bush
Two schools in Montgomery County have implemented a program that tries to get truant students into school consistently.
Key Middle School in Silver Spring is one of the schools with a Truancy Court. Habitually truant students meet with a volunteer judge to determine why they're not in school.
Principal Dr. Eric Minus says one of the biggest reasons for truancy is many children have to wake up on their own.
"Parents may have different work situations or work hours that may cause them to get out of the house earlier. We want to make sure kids and parents are educated about what is appropriate in terms of making sure their children get to school. And motivating and encouraging the kid about how important it is to get themselves up, even if it's as simple as getting them an alarm clock," says Minus.
The court is voluntary, and Minus says making it mandatory wouldn't work.
"We framed it in a way that it's not punitive for kids. It's not looking at taking them away from the school," he says.
A federal grant will fund the court, which was modeled after a similar program in Baltimore.