Alaska’s solution to student truancy: Fine the parents

State law says children between the ages of 7 and 16 have to be in school or their parents can be fined up to $500 for every five unexcused absences. But not all school districts are making sure the law is enforced. Anchorage Superintendent Carol Comeau, for instance, can’t recall her district pursuing a truancy violation in court in at least a decade…

“It’s not to get people into court. It’s to get kids in school,” said Sgt. Duane Stone, a supervisor for the trooper post in Kotzebue.

In all three regions, a series of warnings and meetings with parents generally come first, and courts allow the families to reduce or avoid the fees simply by improving attendance.