NEW BRITAIN, Conn. (WTNH) -- Holding parents accountable when their kids don't go to school: one city wants to get tough on truancy.
It's a pretty aggressive plan, that's stirring up strong, yet mixed emotions.
It's a community that struggles to keep kids in class, and now they want parents to pay for their kids not going to school.
New Britain has a high rate of truancy and the proposal is to solve it.
Parents could be fined $75.
"It's not fair to pay $75 every time these kids don't want to go to school," said Jose Felix, of New Britain, "some of these mothers barely have a car to bring them to school and then $75 and $75."
The new superintendent has only been at the helm a month and he is going after the problems hard. If students can't afford to pay there could be a community service option. The plan still has to be looked at by the Aldermen.
"These kids are outside, they are selling drugs, they are stopping cars in the middle of the street buying drugs, riding their bikes around, they really should be in school," said Jennifer Bates, of New Britain.
The owners of a house across from the high school are pretty upset. They say a lot of the students come there and hang out on the stone wall when they skip class, and you can see where they have had to paint the wall to cover up the graffiti.
They say truancy is a big problem and it is affecting them right in their own front yard.
"The kids are walking here, they litter, they throw stuff here, I find homework, I find books, I found an Anne Frank book in my yard, and I kept it because my kids are going to need Anne Frank," said Markesha Gonzalez, of New Britain.
She says last year there were two large fights across the street from her front yard, and one female student even threatened her and ended up being hauled off by the cops.
"She sent me a 'I'm sorry' letter, the judge made her do that," said Gonzalez, "and if she was in high school, the writing seemed like she was in third grade."
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