Wausau woman opens up about her experience with truancy

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Central Wisconsin(WAOW)— Truancy and its consequences continue to affect community members, and for Laurie Lanala and her daughter it’s very real.

If you had never struggled with it before, truancy is a masked issue. But, the face underneath is a neighbor.

Truancy became an issue for the Lanala’s, starting when Laurie’s youngest daughter was in third grade. Illness and the bullying her daughter faced made it a struggle to get her to school.

What started as letters threatening consequences, led to truancy court, and fines.

Many questioned why Laurie couldn’t just force her to go to school.

“I would go to court and they would say, well, why can’t you get her. I mean can’t you know just put her in the vehicle? And I’m like, you know what, she’s bigger than me. I can’t do that. And they looked at me like I was crazy,” said Laurie Lanala.

Before Laurie’s daughter turned 12, she was mainly blamed for not getting her to school.

But communication between the schools, the courts, and families is where problems arise, according to Laurie.

Because they often don’t see the problems parents face.

“As a parent, even if you’re doing everything possible to get your child to go to school. You still get in trouble,” said Lanala.

Now that her daughter is over the age of 12, she is part of the “Juvenile in Need of Protection Services” program (or JIPS) and must answer to a social worker.

She’s been sent to a shelter home for three-day stays, three different times. Laurie says each visit has cost around $900.

The price tag Laurie assigns to the last four years of truancy is $10,000 and setbacks it’s caused her daughter.

She said her biggest regret was not catching on to the problem sooner.

Laurie’s daughter was interviewed as part of the story. Her name is not revealed for privacy reasons.



Chase McNamara

Chase McNamara

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