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Springfield Schools Cracking Down on Truancy


SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (WGGB) — Officials with Springfield Public Schools are launching an initiative aimed at cracking down on truancy.

Azell Cavaan, spokesperson for Springfield Public Schools, says that around 7:30 a.m. Friday, school safety officers, Springfield Police officers, and members of the Hampden County Sheriff’s Department fanned out across the city to areas that officials identified as “hot spots” for truant students.

Those that were identified as Springfield Public School students were then directed onto a bus and taken to school.

As a result of Friday’s initiative, Cavaan explains that more than 100 students are being counseled, their parents are being contacted, and corrective plans will be put in place.

The goal, school officials say, is to crack down on students that arrive after the bell because they hang out with friends during the morning hours, as well as those students who are out of school during school hours without a legitimate reason.

“We’re very pleased with the results today, which is another approach that we have included in our already aggressive Attendance and Truancy policies. We absolutely will not tolerate kids on the street during school hours,” Superintendent Daniel Warwick explains in a statement released Friday.

Springfield Schools say that their truancy rate has dropped from 5.4 percent in 2010 to 3.8 this year. At the same time, attendance this year is at 92.2 percent, up from 90.4 percent in 2010.

Warwick is urging members of the public to call the school district’s truancy hotline if someone sees school-aged children out of school during school hours. Those reports can be called in to (413) 348-6458 between 7:30 a.m. and 3:00 p.m. weekdays or (413) 787-7183 after school hours.

“These kids are back in class where they ought to be and we are giving them the support they need to help them and their families ensure they get to school on time every day. The message students should hear loud and clear is that there is no hiding place. Go to school and be on time,” says Warwick.

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