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Police and Cedar Ridge officials want truancy ordinance in Hyde Park

March 3rd, 2011 Posted in Opinion

By Jamee Dyches

HYDE PARK — A proposed truancy ordinance that would enable police officers to issue citations to students caught skipping school was discussed at Wednesday’s Planning and Zoning Commission meeting. Currently, police in Hyde Park do not have the authority to punish students if they see them skipping school.

Commission member Gene Reck expressed concern about the truancy ordinance. “It seems like it should be a problem between parents and the school,” Reck said.

Smithfield, Logan and Cache County all have truancy ordinances similar to the one being proposed in Hyde Park.

Sgt. Travis Allen of the Smithfield Police Department said, “Students come from Hyde Park to go to Sky View, so naturally you’re going to have minors in that city.” Allen said he supports the adoption of a truancy ordinance in Hyde Park.

“A lot of the time parents aren’t aware that their child is missing from school. If police can intervene, at least the parents will know that their child has been truant,” Allen said.

Commission member Laurie Baldwin, who is an assistant principal at Cedar Ridge Middle School, said, “We’d like to see the students come to school, get good grades and graduate.”

According to city treasurer Susan Balls, the city has received calls from administrators at Cedar Ridge asking them to adopt an ordinance that will allow police officers to assist the school in controlling truancies.

Scott Jeppesen, principal at Cedar Ridge Middle School, confirmed that he has talked to city officials about the proposed ordinance. “As a whole, we think it’s a good idea. It could be helpful in managing some truancy problems. It would be a good tool for us,” Jeppesen said.

The commission voted unanimously to send the proposed ordinance to the City Council for discussion and a vote. Before a final vote is held, there will be a public hearing. The public will have the chance to give their input on the ordinance and suggest changes.


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