Viewpoint: August 11, 2010

As a new school begins, we hope this year we see more children in school and fewer truants. Our future, as well as theirs, depends on it. We support the efforts of District Attorney Hillar Moore, who wants to open a one-stop shop truancy center, a place where truant kids would have to answer to authorities and it wouldn't be just for students, but their parents, too.

On any given day, some schools have more than a hundred absent students. School attendance clerks work hard, but that is too much of a burden for any one person to handle. We believe a truancy center would provide the necessary resources to investigate each situation thoroughly and improve results. Hillar Moore estimates the parish could open the truancy center for $300,000.

We urge city-parish leaders to include this amount in the next parish budget. The district attorney and other law enforcement officials believe high truancy rates eventually lead to higher crime rates. Just one criminal trial can cost tens of thousands of dollars. Which would you rather pay for?