Ky. teenagers, officials preparing for new dropout law

LEXINGTON (AP) — Kentucky teenagers and administrators are bracing themselves for a new state dropout law that will go into effect on July 1 in most school districts.

The dropout age is being raised from 16 to 18, meaning some students who legally left the education system will now have to return to school.

Many 17-year-old dropouts say it is pointless to make them return because they plan on dropping out again upon their next birthday, The Kentucky Enquirer reports.

“They’re wasting their time, and they’re wasting the kids’ time,” said Faith Rowland, 17, who is trying to earn her GED by the June 30 deadline, thus avoiding the mandatory return. “I understand they’re trying to better education, but they don’t understand how this affects everyone.”

Some administrators, meanwhile, are not relishing the new task of trying to track down the juveniles and bring them back. That job falls to each district’s director of pupil personnel.

“Every DPP in the state is tearing their hair out about that,” Newport Independent Schools administrator Mike Wills said. “That’s just going to add more work to me and my counterparts.”

Wills said the law will be hard to enforce. Aside from filing charges and taking a student or the student’s parents to court, there’s not much recourse for districts, he said.

Boone County administrator Mike Ford, though, said the biggest challenge won’t be finding the students or getting them to return. Instead, he said the toughest task will be taking care of them once they return.

“Sometimes, we need to look at kids and families and say, ‘You can’t quit,’” Ford said. “But we have to in turn look at that family and say, ‘But we’re not going to quit on you.’”

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