If kids are planning to skip out on school for a joyride like Ferris Bueller's Day Off, Sarasota County Sheriff's deputies have other ideas.
The Sheriff's Office is conducting a truancy sweep, dubbed Operation Bueller, to keep track of students who missed school 10 or more times with unexcused absences during the first 30 days of school.
“The intent of the truancy initiative is to express the importance of school attendance and advise students and their parents that law enforcement is interested in their welfare and whereabouts,” said Sheriff Tom Knight. “We continuously work with the community to address the root causes of crime, and the goal of this collaborative effort is to steer these young people toward getting an education so they can be more successful in life.”
The Sheriff's Office is working with Sarasota County Schools identifying middle and high school students who fit that criteria and with assistance from the Sarasota, Venice and North Port police departments visited 138 homes Oct. 17 to figure out why the kids missed school.
The program started out with members of the sheriff's office Intelligence Unit, the Department of Juvenile Justice and school Truancy Officers to focus on juvenile probationers and make sure students attend school. Youth Services deputies make sure students on probation attend school each day, and if they are absent, find them to find out why and take appropriate action.
During the sweep, parents of these children were provided with resources for help.
Children who don’t go to school can be referred to Truancy Court and parents who do not make their kids attend school on a regular basis commit a second-degree misdemeanor, according to the sheriff's office.