By Kate Macaulay,
The Davis High truancy policy is clearly outlined on page seven of the school planner, but not many students take the time to actually read it.
To begin with, there are several levels of truancy, with different consequences.
After three or more truant events, the first truancy letter is sent out and contact is made with a parent or through the student. In this meeting, consequences are discussed as well as attendance, grades and other referrals.
The next level is reached after five or more truant events, when the second truancy letter is sent and a face to face meeting is requested to review the previously outlined consequences. A truancy contract is then required for the student and parent to sign, agreeing to a three week lunch detention, among other things.
Lastly, the third level is reached with seven or more truant events, mandating yet another truancy letter and face to face meeting. In addition, the school meets with the Davis Police representatives to review attendance, possibly assigning after school intervention, and a home visit may occur by School and Davis Police representatives.
If a student is still truant after these levels of intervention, the District Attorney’s office is contacted and the school is no longer involved.
This policy is very similar to other schools because it is based on an Education Code the school districts must follow. However, “once a student becomes a chronic truant, districts have different ways of handling that,” DJUSD Manager of Student Services, Michelle Flowers said.
Other schools may hold Student Attendance Review Board hearings with school board, police and Child Welfare Agency presence and possibly someone from the District Attorney’s office.
“In Davis we have a similar group meeting at the police station that we refer to as mediation,” Flowers said. “If attendance does not improve after that meeting, the student and family is referred to the district attorney’s office.”
Vice Principal Kellie Sequeira focuses more on the students and encourages anyone who is in danger of truancy to attend school.
“Our work is to support students in all areas […] including meetings with both students and parents,” Sequeira said.
As these school board employees work hard to keep Davis students in school, the district attendance rate “is approximately 96%,” Flowers said.