Tackling truancy

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A student is leaving school before the final bell. The amount of truancies are rising every year, and laws are working to put a stop to it.

Jovana Dodevska

Over the years, the amount of truancies has risen due to numerous factors, the biggest being the new matrix period. Many students believe that it is not necessary to stay for this last period of the day and some find excuses to leave school early.

“Most of the matrix classes don’t do anything, and I don’t think it’s OK [to leave school. However,] it’s a little more understandable. If you know your teacher is going to do something, you shouldn’t leave,” Alayna Prisby (12) said.

The matrix period is by no means a time for students to blow off class. It is still a period of the day, and instead of skipping class, students should use this time to their advantage. There are consequences for being truant, but in the future, these consequences may become more severe.

“There are some courts trying to enforce things such as taking away licenses or not allowing students to go to Prom or Senior Banquet [if they are truant]. Some judges are starting to hold parents responsible legally. It’s their job to get their kids to school and make sure they stay there the entire day. We are working with parents to find a solution to motivate students to stay in school all periods of the day,” Mr. Richard Moore, Assistant Principal, said.

At the age of 18, students believe that they have the right to sign themselves out of school whenever they would like. However, this is not entirely true. For students to be able to sign themselves out, they must be fully emancipated, meaning that they have assumed all adult responsibilities that parents normally do.

“Maturity and adulthood is not determined by age, and I don’t believe that a person [has] fully reached maturity until they have demonstrated the knowledge and ability to complete high school,” Mr. Christopher Engel, English, said.

Some teachers and members of the administration agree that parents should also be held responsible for their child’s attendance. Many students would rather be absent than tardy, because there are no consequences for an absence. Before students would lose credit after missing either six blue or six white days. A proposed solution to the truancy problem is to simply fine students or parents.

“Both students and their parents should be held accountable for attendance as a simple lesson for the students as they prepare for the real world. The number of absences from the first day I taught up until now is tremendous. In my high school, I went to a private school. You could pay $5 to get out of a tardy. If Mom and Dad have to write a check for $200 because you were absent, [you’re not going to be] absent anymore,” Mr. Engel said.