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D.C. Parents Could End Up Charged Under New Truancy Bill

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A truant student faces both his schools attendance counselor, left, and his father at the same time when he's caught cutting school.
Kavitha Cardoza
A truant student faces both his schools attendance counselor, left, and his father at the same time when he's caught cutting school.

Parents could be charged if children miss too many school days, under a bill proposed by a D.C. Council Member.

Council member David A. Catania's proposal calls for the Attorney General to prosecute parents if their child has 20 or more unexcused absences in a year. Four of the 13 members of the council are co-sponsoring the plan.

Parents would receive written warnings when after 10 unexcused absences.

Catania says chronic truancy is child abuse and a crisis in the district. He says the District already has a rarely-enforced elementary school law that can lead to up to five days in jail.

Under Catania's bill, parents could be sentenced to parenting classes or community service.

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