LRSD aiming to stop truancy among students

School started back Wednesday from Christmas break in the Little Rock school district, but not all of those enrolled are in school like they should be.

Members of Little Rock Police Department and people within the school district know truancy, or skipping school without permission, is a problem around here. The only problem is they're not able to really track it very closely, until now.

An old Garland Elementary School building, which is the center for Little Rock's resource officers, will now be a spot for police to take kids found roaming the streets when they should be in the classroom.

"Our officers work truancy all the time," said Sgt. Cassandra Davis with LRPD.

In the past officers would take these kids straight to school, but school officials were not able to get a grasp on how often this was going on.

"The public education system, the department for the state, does not track truancy," said Dr. Dennis Barrows with the LRSD. "They have no idea how many truant kids exist in the state of Arkansas."

Dr. Barrows is chairman of Little Rock's board to stop truancy and said he wants to know numbers and what types of cases they're dealing with that are keeping these kids out of school.

"Not all schools were reporting at a level that looked like was appropriate. Some schools had truant kids and some schools looked like they didn't have any truant kids," Barrows added.

The problem is many of the severe cases of students not going to class get sent to the city attorney's office, where Barrows said so many cases have piled up that it could take years to get through all of them.

"What we know is there are thousands that are one or another being listed as truant," he said.

According to LRSD if you have nine unexcused absences in elementary school or seven for secondary and above, you're labeled at truant.

Some parents may receive a $500 fine for their kid having this many absences, but we were told these fines are hard to collect.