MIDWEST CITY - A note to all students: Thinking about cutting class with your friends?
You can't go to the mall, the cops might catch you. In fact, you can't go anywhere in public.
Well, how about inviting the gang over to your house while your parents are gone?
That won't work either.
The Midwest City Police Department could soon be knocking on your door.
The City Council has enacted a law to catch and prosecute students who skip school. And the program has the full support of the Midwest City-Del City School District, said Superintendent Cheryl Steele.
The school and the city plan to inform students and parents of the law which takes effect Thursday.
While school officials were pondering a way to get students to attend classes all of the time, Assistant City Attorney Rick Rice was drawing up an ordinance to make truancy a punishable crime in the city.
"It was as if he was reading our minds," Steele said. "We were thinking about the issue of school attendance. " Steele said the district has a good attendance record, but she continuously strives to raise the level until 100 percent of students are in class or have an excused absence.
"I really appreciate their support. I think we are all looking at what's good for the boys and girls, and that for them to be in class," Steele said.
She said Rice and City Manager Charles Johnson will meet with building principals early in September to explain the ordinance and answer their questions.
Rice said the ordinance passed unanimously this week during the regular council meeting. He said the municipal law will allow school security guards as well as policemen to act as truant officers. Students caught cutting class may be taken to school or to the police station.
"This will allow us to prosecute juveniles who are supposed to be in school but who are not," Rice said. "We can also prosecute parents who knowingly allow their children to violate the ordinance. " The ordinance allows a fine of $200 plus court costs for any parent convicted of allowing their child to skip school. Juveniles also can be fined. Those caught cutting class can be fined $50 for the first offense, $100 for the second and $200 for each subsequent offense.
Rice said the ordinance is a part of the city's comprehensive Juvenile Crime package. BIOG: NAME:Archive ID: 584847