By SUE SUCHYTA
Sunday Times Newspapers
WYANDOTTE – Final readings and passage of resolutions on school attendance and truancy, as well as prohibited youth behavior and electronic cigarette usage by minors passed at the Feb. 25 City Council meeting.
The measures, which passed unanimously, hold parents responsible for student school attendance and behavior, as well as providing enforcement tools to keep e-cigarettes and other vaping products off school premises.
The first of the four ordinances, mandatory school attendance and educational neglect, applies to students ages 6 to 16, and requires regular, on-time school attendance, and holds parents or guardians responsible for compliance. It also holds parents responsible for meeting with school officials to address school attendance and behavioral issues.
It provides schools and law enforcement with a way to address parent or guardian behavior of students who do not attend school and students who do not follow the school code of conduct.
The second resolution addresses truancy, which occurs when students are regularly late to school or fail to attend regularly scheduled school hours. It does not apply to excused absences.
The ordinances give law enforcement officials a way to address serious problems, with court hearings and fines for parents who do not comply.
Scott Galeski, former police officer and current youth mentor, said the resolutions provide a structure within which school officials may address the failure of a parent or guardian to address issues.
Galeski said he, Supt. Catherine Cost and 27th District Court Judge Elizabeth DiSanto worked together to come up with the resolutions.
“It is going to force parents to be parents, and kids to go to school,” Galeski said.
The third resolution, which addresses prohibited conduct for youth age 19 and younger, addresses behavior in school and throughout the city.
It addresses “any act that disturbs, or annoys others, including, but not limited to any vulgar language, profanity, verbal harassment, or threatening behavior, or any act tending to cause a breach of peace within the city” or violates the Wyandotte Public Schools Code of Conduct.
It imposes fines and requires a parent or guardian to accompany their child to a court hearing.
The fourth resolution restricts e-cigarettes and similar items from being possessed or used on school grounds or within the city limits by minors.
The resolution lists: electronic nicotine delivery systems; electronic cigarettes or smoking devices, e-liquid, e-juice and e-wax; vapes, vaporizers and vape pens; e-pipes; hookah, water pipe or other types of pipes; any items that can be used for inhaling, exhaling or vaping ingredients, including, but not limited to nicotine, cannabis (THC), flavorings, propylene glycol, glycerin and any other ingredients.
The resolution states that adults may not possess the above items on school property unless they are outdoors and it is the weekend, or a day when school is closed, or after 6 p.m. on school days. The resolution has forfeiture of the items and fines to aid in its enforcement.
Galeski said e-cigarettes have been a problem at both the middle school and the high school level.
“It is very dangerous for their health as well as a distraction,” Galeski said. “We appreciate your support.”
(Sue Suchyta can be reached at [email protected])