Truancy Crackdown in Beloit

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If you ask some students at Beloit Memorial High School, they'll say the new daytime curfew probably won't affect them. "It doesn't bother me at all, I'm not a big skipper," said Beloit Senior Suzanne Nimz.
But others say it's bound to make a big difference. "Before everyone used to be like, we can skip this class. And now all of a sudden the police is out here, they're like no," said Junior Tonika Cooper. The school year kicked off this week in Beloit with a beefed-up effort to keep kids here in the hallways and off the streets during school hours. "If they're not in school, they're hanging out in stores, on street corners and the most important thing is there not getting their education," said Principal David Luebke. He has worked in the district for 39 years. He says truancy isn't rampant...but it's been an ongoing problem. Under the new curfew law, students must attend classes unless they have an excused absence. If they don't, police can pick them up and ticket them. If a student gets picked by police, it doesn't mean an immediate ticket. In fact, they'll be taken here to the district's alternative high school program...And meet with counselors to see what's behind their truancy. "Our counselors, some of our teachers can meet with students, and find out what the problem is, why they haven't been going to school, why don't they want to go to school," Luebke said. Luebke hopes this intervention will get students back on track...But if it's met with a bad attitude, a ticket is likely. And that could mean a trip to court for these students. And possible fines far exceeding the lunch money in their backpacks. If the student is convicted, fines can range from $300 for a first offense to $500 for the third time. And under the new curfew law, parents can face these fines as well. The new curfew law was created by a joint committee between the City of Beloit and the school district.