Absentees and Dropouts

There are serious truancy and school dropout problems in California. This issue affects students from all socio-economic backgrounds. Truants and dropouts are prone to committing offenses associated with juvenile delinquency and put themselves at risk physically. Keeping children in school through graduation is a proven method for developing productive and successful adults.

Role of the PTA

PTA believes that all children and youth should have the opportunity to develop to their fullest potential. Therefore, PTA supports programs that encourage regular school attendance.

Recommended Actions

Become familiar with California State PTA convention resolution, School Absenteeism/Dropouts (1986) (Where We Stand, Convention and Board of Managers Resolutions; California State PTA Resolutions Book, www.capta.org). See “Attendance” in the Advocacy Topic Index for related position statements or guidelines.

Support county and/or local School Attendance Review Board (SARB). If one does not exist, support the creation of a SARB.

Encourage daily attendance awards and incentive programs in grades K-12.

Educate parents, students and the community about the seriousness of the problem, and point out that existing California laws mandate that minors between the ages of 6 and 18 years of age must participate in an approved education program.

Reach out to the private sector and allied agencies for participation and support of programs encouraging school attendance.

In cooperation with school personnel, seek assistance from the School/Law Enforcement Partnership Cadre, a trained cadre of educators and officials from law enforcement and criminal justice agencies that assist in building an interagency approach to improving order and attendance, reducing school violence/vandalism, reducing truancy, and encouraging good citizenship.

Support school district alternative educational programs.

Encourage school districts to incorporate self-esteem programs into the curriculum.

Encourage the use of peer counseling.

Additional Resources

School/Law Enforcement Partnership Cadre can provide information. Contact California Attorney General’s Crime and Violence Prevention Center, 916.324.7863, or California Department of Education’s Safe Schools and Violence Prevention Office, 916.323.2183.

California Youth Authority. The Prevention of Truancy (1986), a narrative report on successful truancy prevention programs.

California Department of Education. School Attendance Review Boards Handbook (2002). Available online at the Safe Schools and Violence Prevention Office (http://www.sbcss.k12.ca.us/stuServe/SARB/StateSARBHandbook.pdf) or through the Bureau of Publications, Sales Unit, 916.445.1260.

National School Safety Center. Increasing Student Attendance (1994). Available online at www.schoolsafety.us or by calling 805.373.9977.

U.S. Department of Education. Manual to Combat Truancy (1996). Available online at www.eric.ed.gov, or call 877-433-7827; see www.ed.gov.

Bureau of At-Risk Youth. School Attendance, Truancy and Dropping Out (1998), available by calling 800.99.YOUTH.

Local Agencies to Contact for Assistance:
County Office of Education
County Juvenile Justice Commission and/or County Delinquency Prevention Commission
County School Attendance Review Board (SARB)
County Probation Department, Truancy Mediation Program
County Welfare Department, CalWorks Program
County District Attorney, Truancy Mediation Program

See “Attendance” in the Advocacy Topic Index for related resolutions and guidelines.

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