Schools need parental involvement to better combat truancy

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

For primary schools with a chronic truancy problem, getting to the root of the problem is the first step toward improvement.

Public school districts, both with and without a truancy problem, should put a system into place that involves parents in their child’s education. Technology exists that allows school administration to inform parents of their children’s truancy records, and it needs to be improved and mandated at a state level to address the issue of chronic truancy. But more importantly, poverty — undoubtedly the underlying issue in western Pennsylvania’s struggle with truancy rates — also needs to be addressed.

Last year, almost 21,000 students in western Pennsylvania were classified as truant. In the state of Pennsylvania, three or more unexcused absences is considered truancy. By this definition of truancy, Wilkinsburg High School had the highest truancy rate in the region last year at 76.21 percent. This was a nearly 20-percent increase from the 2011-2012 school year.

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