Appleton votes to repeal truancy ordinance

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APPLETON, Wis. (WBAY) - The Appleton city council Wednesday night voted to repeal its truancy ordinance.

It's a move that comes after the school district told police last week to stop writing tickets to reflect a change in policy.

The vote was 10-3. All speakers at the meeting supported a repeal.

Recently, the Appleton Area School Board adopted a new intervention policy to address habitual absences.

In the past, students cited for truancy under Appleton's ordinance were sent to truancy court, which is a part of the county's court system.

That program was terminated last January over concerns about the type of punishments being handed down by the judge.

At Wednesday's meeting, some speakers shared personal stories about that experience.

Some council members wanted the ordinance kept on the books, but a majority disagreed.

"My reaction is this, for the community, for the families that I've personally been in contact with and just the outcry of the community at large this allows for healing to take place so that we can actually build up on the new system that we did in fact put in place even as a school board,' said Alvin Dupree, a Appleton Area School Board Member, who attended the meeting.

Alderperson Kyle Lobner disagreed. "I still think at the end of the day, there's still conversations that need to happen here. The school district has done a great job of laying a track to go forward but they still have a lot of work they need to implement from this and so I think in the meantime it's probably too early for us to say this issue is resolved at this point.," says Lobner.

Lobner says the ordinance should have also been kept in case private schools wanted to use it.

Those schools had no representatives at Wednesday's meeting.