YPSILANTI TOWNSHIP (WXYZ) - Parents could soon find themselves facing a judge if their children miss ten or more days of school. The proposed ordinance would affect those who live in Ypsilanti Township and attend Ypsilanti Community Schools or Lincoln Consolidated Schools.
The absenteeism in Ypsilanti Community Schools has been described as "chronic" for 41-percent of its students.
"No one is interested in throwing parents in jail. What we are interested in is getting them in front of the court to find out why is this happening," said Mike Radzik, Ypsilanti Township's Director of Community Standards.
If passed, the proposed local ordinance could go into effect as early as June 1, 2014, and parents would be looking at a misdemeanor offense.
Radzik tells 7 Action News that if the ordinance is successful, the township would encourage all municipalities whose students attend Ypsilanti Community Schools to adopt the same law.
"We are very concerned about chronic absences," said Superintendent Scott Menzel who told Action News Friday that the district is working on ways to curb absenteeism before students reach ten unexcused absences.
But Menzel is not in favor of making student absenteeism a crime for parents.
"If you got a threat of police or court, you've just reinforced a whole series of stereotypes and misconceptions that aren't what we want. That's not the reason we want kids to attend school," said Menzel. "We want them to attend school because they are serious about their learning and they want a better future than what they might be experiencing at home."