In the town of Covington, Kentucky, a new city ordinance signed into law on January 2 allows the police to charge students caught skipping school with a misdemeanor. The days of suspensions and a stern talking-to from the principal are over. A suspected student playing hooky can be arrested, handcuffed, and booked into jail. If their parents are privy to what is going on, the same can happen to them.
According to records, the school district, which has 4,000 students, had 13,500 unexcused absences during the last school year. While this is certainly a real problem, one reason for the rather stern crackdown is that state funding is rationed out to schools based on their registered attendance. The district, according to Ken Kippenrock, the Director of Pupil Personnel (whatever that means), lost $500,000 in state funding because of skipping school. So, a half-a-million bucks is the magical number to start rounding up the truants and locking them up. No word on whether jail is an excused absence.