Walter Pierce

Hardy: Tie attendance to public assistance

by Walter Pierce

State Rep. Rickey Hardy, D-Lafayette, is calling for what some may consider a draconian means of ensuring that public school children attend class. Hardy is urging U.S. Rep. Charles Boustany to file legislation that would suspend or discontinue federal assistance to parents whose children accumulate ten or more unexcused absences. A former member of the Lafayette Parish School Board, Hardy has been a strong voice for education in the Legislature, recently telling the INDsider that his twice-failed attempt to raise from 1.5 to 2.0 the minimum grade point average required for students to participate in athletics and other extracurricular activities will be reprised during next year’s session.

The body of Hardy’s letter to Boustany is reproduced below.
As you are aware, the education and welfare of our children here in our great State of Louisiana are matters very near and dear to my heart. With that in mind, I am asking that you consider proposing legislation that would, I believe, help to curb public school student absenteeism as well as motivate parents to assert at least one aspect of their parental responsibilities.

My proposal is that when a public school student has ten or more unexcused absences during the school year, if the parents of that child or children are on any and/or all types of public assistance that is funded, all or in part, by federal monies, said public assistance to the parents in question shall be suspended and/or discontinued.

Congressman, as we are both well aware, education is everything. Education enables children held captive by the cycle of poverty to break that cycle and contribute to the community as opposed to living off it. Breaking this cycle has to start somewhere.