Today marks the first day of school in Caddo Parish. Last Monday, Caddo Parish Schools Superintendent Dr. Lamar Goree and I addressed attendance requirements of the upcoming school year. I thank Dr. Goree for the opportunity to help address the many questions and concerns we all have.

My prayers are for a safe and successful school year for you all. During this pandemic, it is important that we must all cooperate with our schools, from parents who have signed up for virtual school to make sure that their child is logging on during the day assigned, to every driver’s duty to adhere to school zone speeds – whose violators I promise to prosecute for the safety of our children who are walking to school.

As many of you know, Juvenile court has been a priority of mine as your District Attorney.  In my term as your District Attorney, I have implemented in Caddo Parish a Truancy Assessment Center (TASC) with the help of Willis Knighton Hospital to help at-risk elementary school children remain in school and provide whatever resources, such as school uniforms with the help of Porters Cleaners, that are needed for children with truancy issues.  We have reduced prosecutions of truancy cases in elementary schools in Caddo Parish from thousands before my term as your DA, to a total of 20 last year. Unfortunately, I have had to prosecute some parents who refuse to send their children to school, and they will face jail time, and I will continue to do so when necessary.

I want to inform, remind, or reiterate to all parents, that when you are doing “virtual”, or computer-based, school classes:

If you do not log in each day, your child will be considered absent. After 5 unexcused absences, our office is notified by the school board and becomes involved in providing you resources to fix your situation. Without your cooperation in addressing the problem, I will be forced to prosecute you for not having your children in school.

If your child is enrolled in the virtual option and goes to elementary school, and you are having any issue logging in or making contact with your school, please call the Truancy Assessment Service Center (TASC) office at (318)425-4413. They can also help you with any school uniform issues of any aged child your family may be experiencing.

If your child is enrolled in the virtual option and goes to middle or high school, and does not log in, then your child is considered absent.  If you are having issues logging in or making contact with your school, please contact your school or the Caddo Parish School Board Child Welfare and Attendance Office at (318) 673-6303.

Again, please ask for help if you need it.  The Caddo Parish District Attorney office is always here to help you.