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Community Responses to Truancy: Engaging Students in School Videoconference

NCJ Number
Date Published
April 2003
Publication Series
This Office for Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention sponsored video conference addresses and examines truancy; the reasons behind truant behavior, highlights of successful nationwide truancy programs, and strategies and resources to address truancy in communities.
Student’s school absenteeism can become chronic and lead to other problems, such as academic failure, school dropouts, increased chance of delinquency, and criminal offending. Truancy is seen as the first indicator or sign to parents and the community of potential trouble for youth. Causes of chronic truancy vary and are unique to each child and family. There can be a combination of factors which can include: family matters, school climate, economic conditions, language barriers, health matters, and student needs. When examining prevention it is critical that schools have a clear attendance policy and ensure that all students and parents are aware of their responsibilities and the sanctions imposed for truancy. In addition, schools should incorporate incentives for students and there should be a collaborative approach to engage schools and a comprehensive array of resources. Truancy must be identified as a community-wide problem. This video conference, sponsored by the U.S. Department of Justice, Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention (OJJDP), addresses truant behavior by examining the reasons behind truancy, highlighting nationally recognized programs, and strategies and resources adopted to address truancy in communities. The video conference includes three segments consisting of a panel of experts, with the intent to provide a comprehensive review of truancy. These segments include: (1) a discussion of strategies that communities have implemented to reduce truancy; (2) the effectiveness of community collaboration on truancy efforts; and (3) increasing public awareness on the consequences of truancy. All three segments of the videoconference describe and examine the following successful truancy programs, their strategies, and their collaborative efforts: (1) King County Superior Court Truancy Reduction Project in Washington, (2) the immigrant community of Gulfton in Houston, TX, (3) Rhode Island Truancy Court Program, (4) the Truancy Arbitration Program in Jacksonville, FL, and (5) school probation officers in Suffolk County, NY. The videoconference concludes with a listing of available Web site resources.

Date Published: April 1, 2003