According to the National Criminal Justice Reference Service, tax payers can pay upwards to thousands of dollars a month for one truant to pay for services like counseling, social workers, and in some circumstances, custodial and legal expenses. Though truancy has become an increasing issue, prevention services that decrease truancy in the first place keeps students in school, give them the best chance of success, and are significantly cheaper and should be favored over intervention services. A budget should be set aside for investing in at-risk youths with the intention of preventing truancy, which will lead to better attendance and a greater chance of success in students.
Truancy is a problem, and not addressing it can have severe consequences. Though the definition of truancy can differ slightly from state to state, California says that when “a student missing more than 30 minutes of instruction without an excuse three times during the school year must be classified as a truant” (“Truancy." - Attendance). The NCJRS describes truancy as "a stepping stone to delinquent and criminal activity" (Truancy - First Step). Truancy has a direct correlation with drug usage, dropping out of school, alcohol addiction, violence, and oftentimes foregoes crimes as adults. The obvious but often overlooked consequence to truancy is a lack of success in schools. The Ramsey County says that “poor attendance makes it difficult for children to succeed in school, limiting their options for future success” (School Attendance). The first step to dealing with truancy is defining it as well as recognizing the effects it has and why it needs to be dealt with.
The crucial action that must be taken is to take preventative measures. The NCJRS says that “Truancy is costly. It costs students an education, resulting in reduced earning capacity. It costs school districts hundreds of thousands of dollars each year in lost Federal and State funds that are based on daily attendance figures. It costs businesses, which must pay to train uneducated workers. It costs taxpayers, who must pay higher taxes for law enforcement and welfare costs for dropouts who end up on welfare rolls or underemployed” (Truancy - First Step). Though they talk about how expensive it is, they combat that issue by that prevention is the answer. They describe programs that are already enacted and claim that they reduce truancy and is a lot less expensive.
Now the concern of where the money will come from will rise. Starting and maintaining programs to prevent truancy won’t be cheap. Though it may be expensive, if governments wean the money from intervention services spent on truant teens and reinvest it into prevention, the government will see that they can help more students with the same amount of money. It can take thousands of dollars to pay for the intervention services provided for a truant student, but if all of that money was put into prevention, they could help the same number of students for a fraction of the cost. Prevention is cheaper than intervention, and the governments must put that into consideration when deciding how to deal with truancy.
Truancy is a serious issue with serious consequences; however, all hope is not lost. Prevention services are the solution to this problem and must be initiated. Imagine if all the kids who were truant were helped before they started skipping school. Prevention will provide kids the greatest chance of success, and the United States must unite to address truancy so as a nation students are being the best chance of success so they don’t end up making bad decisions and ruining their lives.
“School Attendance Matters | Ramsey County." Ramsey County. N.p., 2016. Web. 02
“Truancy." - Attendance Improvement (CA Dept of Education). N.p., n.d. Web. 02 Nov.
“Truancy - First Step to a Lifetime of Problems." N.p., n.d. Web. 2 Nov. 2016.