A local constable has partnered with the Corbin Independent School District in order to clear out a backlog of truancy cases.
Whitley County Second District Constable Ron “Bubba” Bowling said he’s worked diligently in recent weeks serving 29 citations against parents for truancy violations.
“The goal is to get these parents and students on a plan to get kids that have missed a lot of school caught up on lessons, and back on a regular attendance schedule,” Bowling said.
Before criminal citations are issued, school officials send certified letters to parents and guardians with notices that their child has gone over the limit for unexcused absences.
“A lot of times, they just ignore those letters,” Bowling said. “So, then, it takes a little more aggressive approach.”
Parents who allow their child to skip school face misdemeanor criminal charges, but Bowling said the ultimate goal is not to punish parents, but rather compel compliance and get students back in school.
David Cox, Superintendent of the Corbin Independent School District, said Bowling has been extremely effective at addressing truancy in the school system. So far, he’s issued 29 citations to parents for truancy.
“The Whitley County Sheriff’s Department is great. I don’t want to criticize them, but they are very busy and it is difficult for them to serve these,” Cox said. “Constable Bowling gets them done immediately. He takes it serious.”
Cox said the school system has contracted with Bowling to help dissuade truancy for a small weekly fee.
“Really, it just pays for his gas. It’s not much at all, but it’s worth a lot to us,” Cox said.
Corbin Schools have three school safety officers, and Cox said they used to serve many of the truancy citations. But the school system decided to abandon the practice this year for safety reasons.
“I don’t want them leaving campus. It’s just not good to have them on the road,” Cox said. “God forbid something happen … I want them on campus so they can respond, not out in the county trying to deliver a truancy citation.”
Bowling said his success in handling Corbin’s truancy issues has led other school districts to take note. He said an official with the Whitley County School System contacted him this week asking him to perform similar services for that school district.
He said he likely would, because in the end, it’s rewarding. He recounted the story of a senior at Corbin High School who was truant. He worked on a plan with school officials and was able to graduate on time.
“We have an excellent District Judge, Cathy Prewitt, that presides over many of these cases with the best interest of the students as a priority,” Bowling said.
“I’m just glad I can do my part and help out.”