Martinez, Calif. – Contra Costa County District Attorney Diana Becton is asking every elementary school principal to partner with the District Attorney’s Office to reduce chronic absenteeism and truancy in our community. Last month a letter went out from District Attorney Becton to every elementary school principal announcing her personal commitment to address this challenge.
When a child misses school, it can lead to negative and lasting impacts on his or her development as a student and as a future member of our community.
“Research shows that when a child misses school they are far more likely at risk of becoming involved in the criminal justice system, both as victims and offenders. With the collaboration between my office and the educational system here in Contra Costa County, we can break this cycle by helping our students and their families keep our kids in school,” stated Diana Becton, District Attorney.
The State defines truancy as missing at least three unexcused full days of school or being absent for more than a 30 minute period during the school day without a valid excuse on three occasions in one school year. Students who are absent for any reason 10 percent or more of the school year are classified as chronically absent.
The District Attorney’s Office is announcing the following components to bolster efforts to reduce truancy and absenteeism in Contra Costa County at the elementary school level:
- Meet the District Attorney! Throughout the school year District Attorney Diana Becton will visit elementary school campuses throughout the county to speak with students about the importance of attending school and staying on track.
- In honor of Attendance Awareness month in September, District Attorney Becton and her staff will visit local schools to engage with students and read with them, discuss the importance of school attendance, and give special recognition to the students or grades with the best attendance record for the 2017/2018 school year.
- A Deputy District Attorney will meet directly with parents to address barriers of attendance and promote the importance of school attendance for their children’s success. Staff will review with parents the resources available to them and offer services to those needing extra support to ensure their child can attend school.
“A child’s educational path and trajectory will only be successful if they are in school and their family receives the necessary support to ensure the same. Addressing elementary school truancy is critical to keeping our children and our communities safe. District Attorney Becton, Deputy District Attorney Laura Delehunt, and I will continue to develop policies and new partnerships to strengthen ways our office can put an end to the school to prison pipeline,” said Venus D. Johnson, Assistant District Attorney.
Contra Costa County Office of Education: Every School Day Counts
Attorney General Truancy Report:
Attorney General Truancy Toolkit for Parents, Teachers and Health Providers: