LINCOLN PARISH - The goal is to encourage learning says Lincoln Parish Superintendent Mike Milstead, "We feel like that the tardy policy is something that we can live with, it's very fair for our students, for our parents and results in greater attendance at school."
Kids need to be in the classroom to learn and that's why the Lincoln Parish School System, The District Attorney's Office, and the Lincoln Parish Sheriff's Office, have joined together creating a new tardy policy for the 2017 - 2018 school year.
The new policy states that after five unexcused absences parents will be given a citation summoning them to court where a judge will decide the fine.
Some members of the popular Facebook page Ruston Rants think the policy is unreasonable, but superintendent Mike Milstead says it's what has to be done. "Lets say a kid that typically is late to school five times in two weeks by thirty minutes. You do the math on that, that's a lot of instructual minutes. Those early instructional minutes are usually math or English language arts, very vital subjects and for them to consistently be late is a detriment to them."
Milstead also says they have been very lenient with the policy in its pilot year and it's only after an extreme number of tardies, are parents sent to court.
Overall the purpose is to benefit the child even if that means disciplining the parent. "We want to do what we can to make sure that parents have children at school and the only way we know how to do that sometimes is to punish the parent because we cannot punish the child for that. A child being late is rarely the fault of a child," says superintendent.
Lincoln Parish was just awarded an "A" on the Louisiana Report Card, something Mike Milstead says the district worked long and hard for.