Hamilton County Judge Discusses Youth Crime in Chattanooga

Reported by: Alisha Searl
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Updated: 10/15/2013 7:16 pm

Just six years ago half of the students in Hamilton County were considered truant.

It's an issue Juvenile Court Judge Rob Philyaw wants addressed now to reduce crime in Chattanooga.

Sheryl Randolph, Director of Student Services in Hamilton County, says, "We're looking at all the avenues about which we contact parents to make sure they're familiar with the law and with the school procedures, and that they know the courts are not out to get you, they want to work as a team to say lets go to school."

By working on those so-called weak spots in the education system, school leaders have reduced the truancy rate from 50 percent to 29 percent.

While that number still seems high, we're told most of those truant students have less than ten unexcused absences.

Randolph adds, "It's an everyday concern that's on our minds, so we'll constantly tweak that and hopefully see a reduction in truancy and an increase in students in schools consistently."

Judge Philyaw says curfew problems also contribute to the crime here in Chattanooga.

Judge Philyaw adds, "Why is it that they're out at two in the morning when they're exposed to so much danger and negative danger to themselves, danger to others."

Judge Philyaw already has plans to work a little closer with the police department in the coming weeks.

JUdge Philyaw adds, "The police officers need the tools to deal with those things effectively and I'm pushing hard and working with police force and city to develop a plan for that."

Now, only time will tell if these new plans bring down an old problem.

To combat the truancy problem at Howard High School, officials there start school a little later in the morning.

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