Truancy Update

By: Tina Stein
By: Tina Stein

See one of these faces at your door and you know some body's in trouble. These guys are truancy officers and are in the business of holding students and their parents responsible for ditching school.

"The oneness on having your kids in school falls on the parents you have little kids that's our job as parents to get our kids through school," says Truancy Officer Gary Matus.

Any student caught skipping out more than five times gets a visit by an officer. That's followed by a court hearing, which could result in a fine or community service. Educators are worried students don't quite grasp the consequences.

"This is what will make the rest of your life," Matus says.

So far this year, there have been more than 2-thousand tickets handed out. East High School remains a front-runner for truancy violations. While 15-percent more students are showing up than two years ago. these high schoolers are still raking in the most tickets. They've been slapped with five-hundred fines. Just behind is Auburn. with 4-hundred. District leaders hope the switch to school zones will help get more students to show up to class.

"Going to a zone system would help truancy go down, students would be going to school in their neighborhoods so they'd be able to walk to school," says Social Work Supervisor Edward Hayden.

By switching to school zones, students will also become more familiar with home school counselors. This will allow them to get more guidance since they'll be dealing with the same advisers from elementary through high school.

Truancy officers also say it's very difficult to get a job at fast food restaurants like McDonald's if you don't have a high school diploma. So they're working extra hard to make sure these students don't wind up in a predicament in the future.


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