FAIRFIELD — The Solano County Truancy Court marked its second anniversary this week with a routine day of mostly positive results.
A cadre of 10 officials – three from three school districts, an official with the county office of education, a deputy district attorney, a Spanish-language interpreter, a Superior Court judge and his three staff – convened at the courthouse Wednesday afternoon to deal with 10 parents who were previously issued citations by authorities for their children’s excessive absences during the 2012-13 school year.
For five of the parents, it was not their first time at the courthouse since being prosecuted for their children’s excessive, unexcused absences and tardiness from elementary school.
Most of the parents told Judge Robert Fracchia they had seen a big turnaround in their children. The school officials echoed the parents’ sentiments, pointing out that most of the children’s attendance was better this school year than previously.
Parents attending the court for the first time mostly described recurring illness, car trouble, housing problems and other issues as causing their child to miss several days of school.
Fracchia explained to each of them that they could be fined $455 if they did not work with school officials and help turn around their child’s attendance.
For one parent who was absent from the court hearing – again – Fracchia issued a $5,000 arrest warrant.
Since its inception in October 2011, Truancy Court has heard the cases of 81 parents who were referred by the District Attorney’s Office for prosecution due to their children’s excessive, unexcused absences from elementary school.
Among the parents who have received citations for their children’s truancy, 42 percent improved their children’s attendance records so significantly that their cases were dismissed. Only 10 parents were unsuccessful in meeting the court’s requirements and were fined $455 each, according to the District Attorney’s Office.
District Attorney Donald du Bain and Superintendent of Schools Jay Speck helped set up the collaborative effort, which debuted in October 2011.
Reach Jess Sullivan at 427-6919 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter at www.twitter.com/jsullivandr.