MHS student Kyle Larson, left,looks over the school planner with MHS Asssitant Principal Stephanie Holt.

Parents of children in the McAlester School district who allow their children to miss 10 or more days of school may end up with a police officer knocking on their door.

The McAlester School district is complying with a state law called the Oklahoma Compulsory Education law and since school started in September at least two women have been charged for breaking this law. 

The two women, Kayla Sue Parker and Michele Westbrook, were charged with a misdemeanor and fined for “refusing to cause and compel (their children) to attend and comply with the rules of a public (school) or to provide other means of education for the full term the schools of the district where (their children) live,” according to court records.

The law called the Oklahoma Compulsory Education Law 70 OS 10-105 states "If a child is absent four or more days or parts of days within a four week period or is absent without valid excuse for 10 or more days or parts of days within a semester, the attendance officer shall notify the parent of the child and immediately report such absences to the district attorney in the county wherein the school is located for juvenile proceedings pursuant to Title 10 of the Oklahoma Statues. Furthermore, any person having control of a child between five  and 18 years of age is required to compel that child to attend school. Failure to do so may result in fines up to $100 and/or imprisonment.”

“We  are enforcing a law that has been on the books for years,” Hughes said. “This time last year the number of students who missed 10 or more days was 48. This year the number is down to four. 

 McAlester Schools Chief of Police Chuck Cambell says the enforcement has helped attendence and most parents aren’t surprised when they get that knock on the door.

“Most of the parents know why we are there, they aren’t surprised because we have given them several warnings,” said Cambell. 

He said after five truancies we give them a warning and after seven truancies we try to located the parents and explain the law to them.

Hughes said there are exceptions for excused absences.

“The bottom line is children must be in class to learn,” Hughes said. 

For more on the story see the Sunday edition of the McAlester- News Capital.

Contact Jeanne LeFlore at







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