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Students Who Frequently Skip School Face $100 Fines In Nashua, N.H.

By Lauren Leamanczyk, WBZ-TV's New Hampshire Bureau Chief

NASHUA, N.H. (CBS) – Students who play hooky from school in Nashua could face steep fines.

The new policy is meant to address a big problem in the school district. More than 300 kids in Nashua’s high schools missed more than 20 days of school last year because of unexcused absences. Now those teenagers will face fines of $100 for every day they skip school. The fines will only affect students 16 and older who have missed at least 20 days.

Superintendent Mark Conrad says last year the state held truancy court at Nashua North High School where a judge addressed the worst offenders. It was working until the state cut that program. The fines are the district’s only option to get habitual truants back in front of a judge, Conrad says.

WBZ-TV’s Lauren Leamanczyk reports

“The intent here is to not fine students but to get them back in school,” he explained.

Students who don’t pay the fines could be held in contempt of court.

Nashua North junior Makayla says she has skipped school in the past and many of her friends do it regularly. “All my friends don’t come because they just don’t like the school or the people there,” she explained. Makayla doubts the fines will change their behavior.

Her mother, Virginia Foye says she thinks it’s a great idea and she believes the fines should kick in before 20 unexcused absences.

Another parent, Mike Dube, told WBZ he’s against the fines, because he’d rather the trouble makers just stay home. “Why come. You’re causing problems for kids who want to learn,” he said.

Conrad believes the fines will help identify the problems behind truancy and provide assistance to students who need it before it’s too late.

“The outlook is very poor for students who drop out of school, so we’re doing everything we can so they don’t make that mistake now,” he said.

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