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Local School Districts Paying Cash For Truancy Tips

NORTH TEXAS (CBSDFW.COM) - A program to stop truancy in two North Texas school districts could be a moneymaker for some.

Both the Arlington and Mansfield Independent School Districts are participating in the "You Earn, They Learn. Stop Truancy." program.

Arlington Police Department Spokeswoman Tiara Ellis Richard says both of the districts have a plan, "to try to utilize a reward system for trying to combat truancy."

Ellis Richard explained that there are now steps people can take if they notice a chronic school skipper. "They notify Crime Stoppers. Crime Stoppers then sends a message to AISD and to our school resource officers, to make an effort to go make contact with that youngster."

Crime Stoppers then follows up to see if that student is breaking the law with their absences. "There's a state statute that determines what is truancy," explained Ellis Richard.

In what is believed to be a first-of-its-kind approach, if the absent student is truant the person who reported them cutting class will earn a $20 reward.

"Once they verify that student is truant and truant is being absent over a period of days, not just missing one day of school, then that information is given back to Crime Stoppers and the reward is given afterward."

The reward turns into a 'double your money' situation if the student has been truant for several days -- with the reward going as high as $40.

Crime Stoppers is providing the funding for the program between the school districts and police. Adults and students can report potentially truant kids by calling Crime Stoppers at (817) 469-TIPS (8477), or by logging on to the Crime Stoppers of Tarrant County web page.

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