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Muskogee Public Schools is working to boost attendance rate at the high school

Posted at 5:50 PM, Aug 28, 2018
and last updated 2018-08-29 10:20:14-04

Muskogee Public Schools is working to boost attendance rate at the high school.

According to Superintendent Dr. Jarod Mendenhall, the school had an 89% attendance rate last year on average, meaning 11% of students were absent on any given day.

The high school population is about 1,500 students.

Compared to other schools in the Tulsa metro area, Booker T. Washington in Tulsa Public Schools had a 94% attendance rate. There were 1,340 students who attended last academic year. In Jenks High School, 93% of their 3,500 students attended classes.

Dr. Mendenhall says their rate at Muskogee High School is too low and is looking at ways to boost the numbers.

"After four absences within a four-week period, what we're doing is sending a letter home to the parents of the student not attending school," says Dr. Mendenhall.

If the student continues to miss class after that first warning is sent, then the school district will work closely with law enforcement and the Muskogee County District Attorney to make sure the law is followed.

Under Title 70, it is unlawful for a parent or guardian "to neglect or refuse to cause or compel such child to attend and comply with the rules of some public, private or other school."

The fines from the first to the third offense range from $25 to $250. 

But how often do parents get fined? Not very often. 

District Attorney Orvil Loge says it is up to a district judge to decide on the penalty if the law isn't followed. Usually, parents get away with a warning, and that solves the problem.

Some parents who have children at Muskogee High School are proud that school administrators are taking steps to ensure students are not missing class.

"If they're not here, then they're in trouble," says Morissa Murray about her two teenagers who attend the high school. 

The school district has an application and website available for parents to keep track of their students' grades and attendance among other things.

"Attendance is really key to academic achievement. We know that students have to be in school for that to occur," says Dr. Mendenhall.

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