Schools Fight For Attendance Right Off The Bat

Thousands of kids headed back to school on Wednesday.

The Omaha School District joined many others in starting the new year.

Many parents and administrators are already beginning the ongoing fight against truancy.

Jeanene Bang spent the day at the park with her grand-kids Wednesday. They start at a private school on Thursday. Jeanene used to be a teacher, and knows it's not easy keeping kids in school, especially when it comes to bullying.

Bang says programs like "Stuff The Bus" have been a big help keeping area students' confidence high. “Not everyone has the money to send the children to school with backpacks filled with school supplies, and they feel like they're part of the group when they get to school," says Bang.

For school administrators, the new year means a new beginning. That means kids, no matter what their past is, are starting off with a clean slate. School staff still work hard early in the school year to start kids off right. Chris Proulx, President of OEA, says, "We've developed some programs in the district to really address how we're going to work with those families early so if we do some of those things coming up quickly that we aren't waiting for it to become so large that it's too big of a problem to tackle."

A joint project between the NSEA and Building Bright Futures is It offers facts and resources to help families keep kids in school as well. It says, "Habitual truancy is the first indicator of the eventual dropping out of school," and "Research shows frequently absent eighth-graders had less than a 50% high school graduation rate.

Roxanne Corum, another parent, says what it takes to keep kids in school is keeping an eye on the kids. “A parent has to be totally involved with what their kid is doing at school, and be part of the school,” she says.

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