Springfield Working to Curb Truancy

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SPRINGFIELD-When kids miss school it hurts everyone.  But in Springfield, school leaders are seeing success with the numbers to prove it. 

Springfield's Lanphier High School has an 8.6 chronic truancy rate, which matches the state's level.  To be a chronic truant, students must miss 9 days of school without an excuse.  Southeast high school is at 3.4 percent.  And at Springfield High School, it's just 1 percent.

Administrators say it's because they've had truancy interventionists in place for years.

The administrators track down students. find out why they're missing school and try to solve the problems that are keeping kids out of classrooms.  Felicia Stapleton is the truancy interventionist at Lanphier.

 "Probably over 90 percent of students I've encountered that are truant, it's definitely something that has nothing to do with school, it's outside of school," Stapleton says.

Homelessness, not having clothes to wear, taking care of kids, and family problems some of the major reasons.  She finds out why students are missing school and holds them accountable.

But Lanphier's not the only school with a truancy interventionist.  Each Springfield high school has one.

Springfield actually has a higher number of truants than in Decatur, but a much smaller number of chronic truants. All three Springfield high schools have had interventionists in place for more than five years.

In Decatur, Eisenhower now has a student  interventionist in place.  They hope it will reduce their 40 percent chronic truancy rate. 

If you would like to check the truancy rate of your local school head to our website, wandtv.com com and click on sitewatch.

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