Parents liable for absences

The Marlborough Express 03/09/2009

A new truancy programme that makes parents accountable for their children’s school attendance has been applauded by police and schools who say anecdotal evidence show it is working in Marlborough. Police say 15 Marlborough students have so far been referred to Rock On, a programme between schools, police, Child Youth and Family and other social services, that aims to educate parents and children that attending school is compulsory by law. The programme began in Marlborough at the start of this school year.

…Once a student is referred to Rock On by their school, police hand deliver a letter to the student and their family and talk about Rock On. Mr Young said that sometimes having a police officer turn up at the door was enough to make students see the serious nature of the situation. Ongoing problems then lead to an informal family hui at school. Mr Young said the meetings often raised simple causes for truancy, such as parents who started work early and did not make sure their child got out of bed in time for school. If the student continued to wag, the school sent another letter referring the matter to a family group conference with Child Youth and Family and police. The final step was Family Court action.