Forum tackles truancy in the AV

The "Tackling Truancy" training event, which took place at the Lancaster Learning Complex, drew about 150 educators, social service providers and law enforcement personnel.

The “Tackling Truancy” training event, which took place at the Lancaster Learning Complex, drew about 150 educators, social service providers and law enforcement personnel.

LANCASTER – Studies reveal that nine of 10 youths detained have a history of chronic truancy.  While many schools in the Antelope Valley are making strides in reaching parents and students to prevent truancy, some local elementary schools report truancy rates as high as 55 percent, according to the Los Angeles District Attorney’s Office.

Recognizing the link between truants and crime, the District Attorney’s office on Tuesday tackled the issue at an all-day forum at the Lancaster Learning Complex.

“Keeping students in school is a community effort,” District Attorney Jackie Lacey said in a press statement.  “Often, when students are not in school they are getting in trouble.  I am pleased that through this forum we are marshaling resources to get children back into the classroom.”

Early truancy prevention ultimately increases graduation rates and abates long-term criminal behavior, Lacey stated.

Titled “A Collaborative Approach to Reducing Truancy in the Antelope Valley,” the forum’s speakers included Lydia Bodin, deputy-in-charge of the District Attorney’s Abolish Chronic Truancy (A.C.T.) program; Judge Geanene Yriarte of the Los Angeles County Superior Court; and Bureau Chief Paul Vinetz of the Los Angeles County Probation Department.

Bodin’s presentation covered the basic structure of truancy law, the types of daytime loitering/truancy tickets, the Education Code process, and the consequences and criminal charges parents could face for failing to send their children to school. California’s Compulsory Education Law requires that every child ages 6 to 18 attend school daily.

Most people believe truancy is a prevalent issue for high school students, but chronic truancy often originates at the elementary school level, Bodin said.

Almost 40 percent of all truant students in California are elementary school children, and A.C.T. helps students and parents get back on the right track, according to Bodin.

The program places District Attorney’s Office personnel in elementary schools to work with administrators, teachers, parents and students to intervene at the very beginning of the truancy cycle. Parents are informed that it is their legal responsibility to ensure their children attend school. If there are problems interfering with the ability of the child to go to school, District Attorney personnel attempt to find community resources to help overcome those problems. Read more about the A.C.T. program here.

If the child continues to be truant, legal action can be taken against the student, the parent, or both. As a last resort, parents who fail to send their children to school may be prosecuted. The maximum penalty is a fine of up to $2,500 per child and up to one year in county jail.

For more information about school attendance laws, visit the California Department of Education’s website at

Previous related stories:

25 youths netted in Valley wide truancy sweep

50 busted in truancy sweep

Lancaster truancy sweep nets 24 arrests

  4 comments for “Forum tackles truancy in the AV

  1. KS
    March 7, 2014 at 6:55 pm

    Three years ago at my son’s high school “Lancaster High” they did a truancy sweep. He was on campus and sited for being truant. Doors were locked and shut and they swept all persons not in the classroom. He/we had to appear in juvenile court where a fine around $300 was imposed. I have always made sure my son is at school and on time. I am still outraged that they considered him truant. I should also mention the reason he was slow to class he sprained his ankle in Basketball and was on crutches.

  2. Pat
    March 6, 2014 at 9:20 am

    Kelly, are you saying that the criminals above the age of 18 are completely innocent and perfect until they turn 18? Maybe you’re saying that these adults never missed a class and they were perfect angels all the way through school? I’m not sure where you are coming from but truancy has become a huge issue in our schools. Students who miss school in the elementary grades tend to miss a lot more in middle and even more in high school. This becomes a chronic problem and then the students become less educated, as you seem, and tend to not be employed and as a result turn to criminal activity. The efforts of our community are being focused at the root of the problem in hopes of stopping criminals before they reach the age of 18. But for people like you, who don’t seem to value the education that your children are granted by our state, education seems to hold no value. I am guessing here by your two comments that you would rather spend the money on social programs and hand outs like food stamps and free cheese for those people who did not take advantage of the learning provided to them at no cost by the good people of the state of California. I believe your values are a bit off here. But don’t let me stop you; because Lord knows ain’t nobody got time for school; enjoy your time at home with your children. Make sure all nine of them stand in line with you and get a block of free cheese and be sure to drag each and every one of them with you, instead of sending them to school, to the social security and welfare and unemployment offices. You make sure they know how to fill out those forms too. That’s all the education they need. When they each turn 18 make sure they go straight to breaking into houses so we all contribute to the well being of your children. As for me, I’m in favor of sending the children to school and making sure they are law-abiding citizens who are smart enough to vote and contribute to society and advancing the general knowledge base. And for those of you on welfare I’m not in favor of giving you a handout if your children are missing classes or even flunking their classes; but that’s a different issue all together.

  3. Kelley
    March 5, 2014 at 2:47 pm

    And in another article, you talk about residential burglaries happening during school hours, did you people ever stop to think that those hours of burglaries are also WHEN PEOPLE ARE AT WORK TOO…so NO ONE is home so they don’t get caught? Your stupidity and wastefulness of funds is amazing.

  4. Kelley
    March 5, 2014 at 2:40 pm

    Considering the majority of crime is from people that are over the age of 18, I don’t think that truancy from school has anything to do with it. You are wasting tax-payers money chasing kids when there are REAL CRIMES happening.

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