Warrants served for Hattiesburg parents who fail to send children to school

Published: Feb. 11, 2015 at 2:15 AM CST|Updated: Feb. 11, 2015 at 2:35 PM CST
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HATTIESBURG, MS (WDAM) - The Hattiesburg Public School District is holding parents accountable, as required by law, if their child has chronic unexcused absences.

"If they're not here on a consistent basis, then it does [make an] impact," said HPSD Superintendent James Bacchus.

Mississippi Code says that 12 unexcused absences during a single school year establishes the parent or guardian "responsible for the absences and has refused or willfully failed to perform the duties imposed upon him."

HPSD teamed up with the Hattiesburg Police Department and municipal court Monday to serve an arrest warrant on a mother whose child exceed that number of unexcused absences.

"We're trying to let them [parents] know that being at school matters," said Bacchus.

Absences also have a financial effect on the district. When a students misses a school day from a public school in Mississippi, it costs the school district $28 per day, per student. Although HPSD joins other area district with an average attendance of 95 percent, the amount lost has a large impact.

"Last year, we lost over $40,000 in that space last year, and that's a teacher's salary," explained Bacchus.

School officials said more warrants will be served for similar incidents.

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