Truancy is becoming a major problem amongst school districts throughout the country. Truancy is defined as children skipping school. Many students and parents don’t see the problem in missing school and brush it off as an unimportant matter, when truancy can actually lead to student drop outs and poor life choices. One study found that 7.5 million children miss a month of school per academic year. Fighting truancy is an effort that must be put forth by parents and teachers together. Unfortunately, you can’t just tell a child that skipping school is bad, and expect them to listen. A process and positive community must surround children in order for them to enjoy school and lower the risks of skipping. Here is how you and your community can help fight truancy.

Parental Involvement

If you read my recent post on parental involvement, then you know engaged parents are the key to their children’s educational success. Simple things such making sure they have lunch for the next day or making sure they get to school on time are important ways of helping them ensure success. Making sure that parents are informed on the impacts that truancy has on children and the importance of fighting it is just as crucial as teaching students about the negative impacts. Parents need to have conversations with their children and commit to being involved in their kids’ lives outside of school and within. For example, having family dinner every night creates a significant impact in the lives of children and their educational success. Family dinner is a great time to have important conversations with your children. Attending and participating in school family events is also a great way to fight truancy. Children will feel the need to participate in school when they know their parents are making an effort. Small parental engagement initiatives can lead to big impacts and positive choices on the lives of children.

Teacher Involvement

Teacher involvement plays as much of a significant impact as parental involvement does. Children are spending a work week’s time in school, usually with the same educator for a year. This means that children will become heavily influenced by their teachers. The most important thing teachers have to consider is establishing a relationship with the students, but also the parents. Teacher’s success won’t get very far if children feel pressured or unliked by their teacher, and most parents won’t take that very well. Children are less likely to skip school when they know they have a community of support and care at school. In the relationship process, teachers need to pay more attention to the outside of school lives of children. Many children won’t speak of their problems or issues at home, which could be the cause of them not wanting to come to school. Another thing that schools should consider is their punishment process. Punishing children (no recess, detention, or standing in a corner) for being late or absent from school, not doing their homework, or socializing in class will only push them further away from the educational system. Many schools are beginning to shift their punishment process to something more encouraging. For example, a long time ago, students would get punished by not being allowed to attend recess. Today, however, schools are shifting away from this process because children need a break in order to learn better. As mentioned, many students are too scared to speak what they are thinking, and teachers forget to look past the reasons that children may be acting up or doing poorly in schools. Teachers need to establish a relationship with their students and parents in order to create a successful communication initiative that will motivate children help them stay in schools.