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Parents To Blame For Truancy, New Britain Superintendent Says


Saying the city and schools need to have a “conversation and a wake-up call,” New Britain, Conn., Superintendent of Schools Kelt L. Cooper is proposing implementing a daytime curfew that would include fines for violators.

Cooper, who emphasized he wants to work closely with city and school leaders in forming a policy, said parents play a big part in the large number of students who consistently miss school.
“Parents elected to have children,” Cooper said. “They brought them into the world and in doing so created a responsibility to see their children are safe, fed, clothed and go to school. They have a duty when they bring a child into the world.”
A daytime curfew that could be enforced with fines can only be implemented via an ordinance by the Common Council.
Cooper said he’d like to see a daytime curfew policy in effect “as soon as possible.” The superintendent, who last year proposed fining parents of truant children $75, said this week he was open to any fine.
“It might be $25 or $35, it has to be discussed,” Cooper said. He also said enforcement of the policy would be discussed at a later date.
New Britain High School, Cooper said, has a serious problem when it comes to truancy.
“Last year it was clear to me that one of the things plaguing the high school is the truancy,” Cooper said. “That includes kids just not showing up or showing up and ditching classes or showing up and walking away before school starts.”
According to school district numbers for the 2012-13 school year, 32 percent of ninth-graders were chronically absent; 40 percent were chronically absent in 10th grade; 46 percent in 11th grade; and 45 percent were chronically absent in 12th grade. Chronically absent students miss at least 10 percent of school or 18 days of school a year.
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