The Numbers are In: Absences, Truancy Down in District 205

By: Brad Broders
By: Brad Broders

The attendance numbers are in, and the numbers are good. Comparing September 2004 to September 2005, absences in the Rockford school district are down 11 percent. For Superintendent Doctor Dennis Thompson, it's proof that the daytime curfew ordinance is making students think twice before they skip class.

"Truancy is an equal opportunity offense. It's equal exactly with males and females. The demographics are pretty much the demographics of the district, so it hasn't targeted one ethnic group or one gender group," Thompson said.

So far, 126 students have been cited during school hours. Thompson says both Rockford Police, and Rockford phone callers are doing their part to bring down the truant student numbers.

"We've worked closely with the Rockford police department to take our calls from the truancy hotline, identify those areas where we are getting those calls, and focus the resources there. That seems to have worked out exceedingly well," Thompson said.

The superintendent says so far the truancy hotline received 150 calls. That information has made a huge early impact in the areas in and around Charles Street, near East High School and Lincoln Middle. The strip loaded with gas stations and fast food joints had been a haven for students ditching class, until now.

"In high school certainly you can do a lot of things to increase attendance, but certainly if there's an adverse consequence the kids have set up and taken notice that underage citations are being given out and they're getting back to school," Thompson said.

A sign more students are back in school, a great sign the daytime curfew is, so far, doing exactly what it's meant to do, decrease truancy, and increase learning.


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