SIKESTON, MO (KFVS) - Sikeston school officials, with DPS, are tackling the crime of falsifying school excuses.
Last spring police say that Superintendent Steve Borgsmiller contacted them after some students and parents had passed fake doctors' excuses at their schools.
Some of the attendance secretaries received the fake doctor excuses after the student was said to have been sick or seeing a doctor the day before.
"We noticed it was the same kids with a large number of absences. That's when we started to see a pattern," said Borgsmiller.
After trying to verify if the excuses were real, they found a number of the excuses to be fake.
"When the building started checking all of the absences and then to verifying them; (the doctor's offices), they said we have not seen them and we did not write that excuse," Borgsmiller said.
Police say it became obvious that the crime of forgery had been committed. DPS officials met with Borgsmiller, Scott County Prosecutor Paul Boyd, Scott County's Chief Juvenile Officer Bill Lawson and the Missouri Children's Division. Police say all decided to work together in seeking forgery charges on the offenders and any future offenders.
DPS Investigators began working the forgery cases and say they made several arrests.
These arrests were following forged excuses being passed at elementary schools all the way up through high school.
Police say the majority of arrests were of parents who passed the excuses themselves.
In some cases, the Internet was used to make the fake excuses a lot easier, according to DPS.
In the past, the offenders would white out a date and write in a new one on an old excuse. They would then photocopy the altered excuse to give the appearance of authenticity.
Now, people use images from legitimate medical facilities and typed their own doctor's excuse with the image attached. They would then falsify an actual or fictitious doctor's signature. A color printer was often added to aid in the appearance of authenticity.
"If you are doing this, please stop because it's not a benefit to the child," said Superintendent Borgsmiller.
Police say their main goal is to see youths in school. In order to achieve this goal, they will hold any parent and-or student accountable for this criminal act.
DPS adds that this type of behavior isn't just an immoral act, but it is a criminal one. There will be no tolerance for this criminal act. If you are found to be passing a counterfeit document, you will be prosecuted.
"We just won't tolerate this," said Lt. Jim McMillen. "We just want people to know kids need to be in school."
Other school districts tell us they face similar issues involving notes they feel are fake.
The crime of forgery in the state of Missouri is a class C felony which carries a fine up to $5,000 and-or up to 7-years of confinement in MODOC.