Online schools go old school to nab cyber-truants

Online schools go old school to nab cyber-truants Click to Enlarge Photo:

Dec 5, 2011 at 8:31 am

MINNEAPOLIS (AP) - Minnesota's online schools have quietly persuaded county prosecutors to accept an expansive view of the state's outdated truancy law and use the courts to bring hundreds of cybertraunts back to class.

However, both the supporters of online education and county officials say the makeshift agreement can't last at a time when enrollment in online schools is booming.

Stacy Bender, the truancy officer at the Minneapolis-based Minnesota Virtual High School, has advocated for a definition that combines time spent online with academic progress.

However, that's not how Minnesota's truancy law reads. It defines habitual truancy in terms of unexcused absences from a school. There's no provision for flexible online schedules or academic progress.

A committee of the Minnesota County Attorney's Association is working on an update of the state's truancy law.

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