Group calls for repeal of Nebraska's truancy law

Oct 31, 2013

A Nebraska group that advocates for family authority as part of education policy wants the state’s truancy law repealed.

The Nebraska Family Forum joined Douglas County Board Chairwoman Mary Ann Borgeson at a news conference Tuesday to call for the law’s repeal. The law says that if a student is absent from school more than 20 days in a year, school districts can turn the matter over to the County Attorney’s office. An amendment approved in 2012 makes a distinction between excused and unexcused absences.

Borgeson says the law hurts students who miss 20 days of school for documented reasons.

"In my opinion, in our board’s opinion, it is time to give back parenting to parents. It is time to give this issue back to the schools, it is time for schools to work for and with families again."

State Senator Brad Ashford sponsored the original truancy law and two amendments to it. He says there won't be changes to the law.

"We are not going to repeal the law. The law has had a dramatically positive impact on young people throughout the state, in counties throughout the state. There are diversion programs in Hall County, Adams County, in Wahoo, Douglas County, in Sarpy County. There is a new awareness by school districts that there is a place to go if they can’t find a child."

The Nebraska Family Forum wants the current law replaced with one that contains the dictionary definition of truancy. The group also wants law enforcement removed from the truancy discussion.

Ashford says many matters dealing with unexcused absences can be handled without the need for law enforcement to be involved.