After years of angst and lost funding because of chronic truancy, Detroit Public Schools is implementing a new attendance policy for the 2013-14 school year that could result in parents being reported for prosecution after nine unexcused absences for their child.
The policy for DPS’s estimated 50,000 students is being criticized as softer than truancy policies in other districts because DPS students can accrue 30 absences in a semester before facing mandatory summer school or possible lost high school credit. The policy also faces enforcement challenges because of budget cuts to the Wayne County Prosecutor’s Office.
The policy, referred to as 3-6-9, is a district-wide formalization of past practices, calling for intervention after three unexcused absences. Initially, it would result in a call home to parents; further absences would lead to the matter being referred to the prosecutor’s office.