Meridian, Miss. In an effort to curb youth crime, the Meridian Police Department is cracking down on parents. In addition to a stricter curfew that the city has enforced for youth, failure to attend school will have consequences. Just recently, the MPD arrested 9 parents for failing to comply with the Mississippi Compulsory School Attendance Law. Detective Dareall Thompson says it's one step in fighting the crime of this city.
"A lot of crimes are coming from our youth," says Thompson. If you know where your children are, you know they aren't committing any crimes."
The law states that children can't miss more than twelve unexcused days or the authorities will become involved. Detective Thompson says parents aren't arrested immediately, but they are still held responsible.
"If their child misses so many days, they normally contact the parent about the issue. If they fail to comply to it, then when the truancy officer comes down here to sign charges on them, it becomes a warrant for their arrest."
According to the MPD, the first offense is $364 with $614 for a second offense, if there were to be a third offense, that penalty would be up to the judge. Thompson says it's too early to tell how well this will limit youth crime, but so fair it has helped.
"Since we started cracking down very heavy on it, we have seen a decrease in it," says Thompson. " It's still too early in this stage to say because we really just started cracking down harder on it."