Judge Yackel Eliminates Gratuitous Officer Presence at Truancy Court

Friday, February 23, 2018 | by Ben Dryden |

A recent change has been implemented by Sawyer County Circuit Court Judge John Yackel which will free up Sawyer County law enforcement from attending certain court sessions and allow them to put their service to use in Sawyer County Schools, or wherever they may be needed at that time.

Sessions are held regularly in Sawyer County Circuit Court regarding truant students. Until recently a requirement was in place that both a Hayward Police Officer and a Sawyer County Sheriff’s Deputy attend Truancy Court.

In light of the recent school shooting, the need for law enforcement presence at Truancy Court in Sawyer County was addressed by Judge Yackel, and he made a determination that their presence was not necessary as they may be needed elsewhere.

When SawyerWire.com spoke with Judge Yackel, he stated that a Hayward Police Officer and a Sawyer County Sheriff’s Deputy would attend Truancy Court each month. When these officers were asked about their regular presence, they said that a previous Judge had set the requirement. 

Judge Yackel notified school and law enforcement agencies saying that he felt their time could be “better spent actually in school than in truancy court.” He also told them that the court system "no longer required them in truancy court.”  Judge Yackel continued to say that it just seemed that if a bad person were paying attention, it seemed too big of a target.

“I have a child of school age and it made me think 'who was protecting the school while we were in truancy court?’ Of course, after the Florida school shooting, I really thought about it.  While I told them their presence was no longer required, I was, in reality, telling them I don't want you here.  Stay protecting the schools.

“The school and law enforcement agencies all enthusiastically agreed and supported the decision."

Wisconsin State Statute Section 118 sets forth not only the school attendance requirements for children between the ages of 6 and 18 years, but also the potential penalties for parents/guardians who do not ensure that the children for whom they are responsible are attending school appropriately, and potential penalties for students who habitually truant from school.

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