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 Call for Community-Wide Effort to Reduce Truancy in San Diego County

​School, court and probation officials have joined together to ask all segments of the community to join the effort to reduce truancy in local schools.

At a County Office of Education news conference, County Superintendent Randy Ward, Superior Court Judge Browder Willis, Chief Probation Officer Mack Jenkins, and Chief Deputy District Attorney Dan Lamborn each spoke to the importance of reducing truancy, and the devastating impact truancy has on young people.

“We are here today because we value each and every student in San Diego County…too much to abandon them to truancy and the problems that go hand in hand with it,” Ward told reporters. “It’s estimated that 75 percent of habitually truant kids will eventually drop out of schools if our schools, courts, and community do not intervene.”

Ward said one out of every 10 students will miss at least 10 percent of the school year due to truancy. “What chances do those kids have?” he asked. “When students tune out of school, they tune out for life.”

Willis said he sees hundreds of truancy cases in his courtroom every week. He urged business owners, working adults, family members, virtually everyone in the community that sees a school-age boy or girl outside of school during normal school hours, to call the police or a school district.

Jenkins said that in most cases a single contact from the police or probation officials is sufficient to get students back on track with school attendance. When truants are reported, it gives probation, police and school officials the information and opportunity to intervene, he said. And the sooner those interventions occur, the better the chances of students getting back on track in school.

Truant students are more likely to get involved with illegal drugs and alcohol, Jenkins said. They’re also more likely to be victims of crimes, Willis explained. More than 67 percent of truants test positive for drugs, Ward reported.

For more information on the news conference, and who to call to report truancy, contact Don Buchheit, Program Manager, Student Support Services/Child Welfare & Attendance, at the County Office of Education at 858 292-3786. ​