WBAL-TV (Channel 11), in a feature about Baltimore school officials’ efforts to reduce student absenteeism, focused on the work of the University of Baltimore School of Law’s Truancy Court Program, a project of the Sayra and Neil Meyerhoff Center for Families, Children and the Courts, which is directed by Professor Barbara Babb.
The segment, reported by Deborah Weiner, focused on Franklin Square Elementary-Middle School.
Statewide, 12 percent of public school students, or more than 91,000, missed over 20 days, according to the Maryland Department of Education, the WBAL segment said, adding that Baltimore City has the state’s highest absentee rate.
Educators say students are absent for a variety of reasons: addiction in the family, housing instability, a lack of transportation to and from school, and the need to care for younger siblings, WBAL reported.
Research shows that truancy is one of the strongest predictors of teenage pregnancy, drug abuse and criminal behavior, among other societal problems. Students who are frequently absent are also less likely to graduate from high school.
A problem-solving approach to truancy reduces these risks and saves families and communities from serious and costly outcomes.
Learn more about the Sayra and Neil Meyerhoff Center for Families, Children and the Courts and the Truancy Court Program.