Pa. School District Sued Over Truancy Fines
HARRISBURG, Pa. (AP) – The Public Interest Law Center of Philadelphia is suing a southcentral Pennsylvania school district over what it says are tens of thousands of dollars in illegal fines imposed to punish repeatedly absent children or their parents.
The law center’s suit filed Thursday in federal court in Harrisburg targets fines it says violates the state’s legal limit of $300 per absence.
The Lebanon School District reduced some fines in 2009 after the NAACP complained. But law center attorney Michael Churchill says the district didn’t return at least $107,000 in illegal fines it collected or end its efforts to collect other fines that violate state law.
Many state truancy laws allow fines or even jail, but analysts say schools don’t always pursue such avenues.
Superintendent Marianne Bartley denies any wrongdoing by the district.