Students’ nonattendance is a problem that extends much further than the school. It affects the student, the family, and the community. Truancy has been labeled one of the top 10 major problems in this country’s schools, negatively affecting the future of our youth (Epsten, et al 2002, 28(7), 7-15.). In fact, absentee rates have reached as high as 30% in some cities. The statistics speak for themselves. According to the literature, about 2,775 primary pupils and 4,624 secondary students played a part in truant behavior at some point in the county last year (Morgan, 2003).
On a typical school day, 50,000 children are not in school. Last year, secondary schools reported that 1% of school time was lost due to unauthorized absentees. Absenteeism is detrimental to students’ achievement, promotion, graduation, self-esteem, and employment potential. Clearly, students who miss school fall behind their peers in the classroom. This, in turn, leads to low self-esteem and increases the likelihood that at-risk students will drop out of school. The problem of student nonattendance will never disappear entirely. Some students willingly attend school, but others do not, often because of negative factors or influences in their lives. These students require intervention, for the benefits of regular attendance may be the difference between a lifetime of burdens and a lifetime of accomplishments. By addressing related risk factors with an attendance policy that works, teachers and administrators can give students a much better chance of succeeding.
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