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Puerto Rico legislator targets parents of dropouts

Wednesday - 5/22/2013, 7:30pm  ET

SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico (AP) -- A legislator in Puerto Rico has submitted a bill that would increase fines and jail time for parents whose children skip classes or drop out of school.

Angel Munoz Suarez says fines up to $5,000 and a 12-month jail sentence are needed to reduce dropout and absenteeism rates in the U.S. territory. He also says welfare benefits should be cut as punishment.

Munoz says in a statement issued Wednesday that current law calling for a $500 fine and a six-month prison sentence is not being enforced.

School attendance in Puerto Rico is largely mandatory for all those ages 5 to 18, with a few exceptions. However, a study by the Department of Education estimates about 40 percent of public school students who enter 10th grade drop out.

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