Jefferson Middle School Under Fire Over New Truancy Policy

Thursday, April 18th 2013, 9:50 pm
By: News 9

Students are arrested for going to school, and parents weren't happy about it.

Jefferson Middle School was apparently trying to address a serious truancy problem. According to the police report, the school has had anywhere between 100 to 200 students late to class daily.

According to the Oklahoma City Public School District, for the past three days, administrators have been rounding up students caught in the hallways after the tardy bell rang, then suspending them. Students could only return to school with a parent.

This week alone, 97 were suspended, that includes four who were arrested Tuesday because they returned to campus during a suspension.

"That's not right. I'd be upset," said parent Marsha Warden, "I'd be very upset."

"I don't think it's really fair to put them in jail, and lock them up like that," said parent L.C. James.

Those four middle-schoolers were booked and charged with school trespassing. Some parents think the consequences are a bit too extreme.

4/18/2013 Related Story: Four OKC Middle School Students Arrested At School For Trespassing

"You know, after six or seven times, skipping or something like that," said Warden. "But, I don't know, I think they're too young in middle school to be arrested."

"I've got one in there now that's pulled that kind of stuff, and she's on the breaking edge of getting to enjoy the same grade next year," said great-grand parent, Bob Burton.

Burton says Jefferson Middle School is doing what they have to do to get the kids on track.

"Somebody needs to be held accountable, and these kids ought to have their attitude taken away from them," said Burton.

The school district released a statement which reads in part:   

"Moving forward the OKCPS Administration will work with the building principal to work on using positive interventions to stress the importance of being on time. Additionally, it is important that parents also work with their children to reinforce this message which prepares students for expectations they will face when they enter the workforce."

The district also says part of the intervention includes bringing in parents to have face to face meetings about the tardy issue. The campus truancy officer also told students they could not only be arrested, but be fined up to $1,000.