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DC Council Advances Bill For Parent Prosecution After School Absences

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File photo of an empty classroom. (credit: KAZUHIRO NOGI/AFP/Getty Images)

File photo of an empty classroom. (credit: KAZUHIRO NOGI/AFP/Getty Images)

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WASHINGTON — A bill cracking down on parents of children who miss too much school is headed to the full D.C. Council for a vote.

The bill was approved unanimously by a council committee on Wednesday after Councilmember David Catania took out a provision mandating criminal prosecution of parents whose children have 20 or more unexcused absences in a year.

The D.C. attorney general already has the power to prosecute parents but rarely uses that authority. Parents will now be informed after their child misses 10 days that they could face prosecution. After 15 absences, cases would be referred to the attorney general.

Catania says the bill means the District of Columbia is getting “serious about the rampant truancy” among city students. Catania chairs the council’s education committee.

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