Our State's Attorney John McCarthy strongly believes education prevents crime. With this in mind he has tasked a number of Assistant State's Attorneys with the responsibilities of monitoring Montgomery County schools and their truancy abatement programs. Mr. McCarthy believes that an interagency approach is crucial in helping our children become adults.
Attending school is a normal and important part of the growing up process. When a student is repeatedly absent without an obvious reason, it is a warning of serious difficulties. Research data shows that students who become truant and eventually drop out of school put themselves at a long-term disadvantage for becoming productive citizens.
Parents bear primary responsibility for ensuring that their child regularly attends school. It is the school's role to monitor student attendance and provide meaningful educational incentives that promote good attendance. Many factors can impact school attendance. If school attendance is an issue for your child, please contact your child's teacher or school counselor for assistance. Another resource is the pupil personnel worker assigned to your child's school. Contact your child's school for the name and contact information for your pupil personnel worker.
Because truancy is a community issue, Montgomery County has an interagency workgroup to address truancy and dropout prevention. The following agencies are members of this workgroup:
Each agency has agreed to participate in an overall plan to respond to the habitually truant student. This plan includes school-based and Department of Student Services interventions, a referral process for cases resistant to intervention, an interagency Truancy Review Board, and a system for referral to court. The plan applies to all students between five and sixteen years of age. Legal action applies to each person who has legal custody or care and control of a child who is 5 years of age or older and under 16.
The Montgomery County State's Attorney's Office works with the Montgomery County Public Schools, the Department of Juvenile Justice, the Montgomery County Police Department, and the Montgomery County Department of Health and Human Services to combat truancy in our public schools.
The objective of this process is to promote school attendance. As we have observed, children who are not in school often become potential victims of criminal activity or actively commit crimes.
Those children who have a certain number of unexcused absences are identified by the school and the children and their parents are worked with by the school community to address the reasons for the truancy and improve the child's attendance at school. Those children who attendance does not improve are referred to the next stage of the process which is the Interagency Truancy Review Board.
The parents and the child are called in for a meeting to find out why the child is remaining truant from school. The Board generally enters into an attendance plan with the parent and child. Those cases in which the child remains truant are then referred to the Montgomery County State's Attorney's Office for possible prosecution.
If you have any questions regarding problems with your child's attendance at school, you may contact the following:
Ms. Yolanda Speights
Supervisor of Pupil Personnel Services
Carver Educational Services Center