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Ohio Leaders Tackle Truancy Rates

COLUMBUS (Lu Ann Stoia) Police hit the street every school day to look for students who are skipping class.

In the past year, they found almost 3,000 students who were truant.

The school with the most truants was West High, with 434 students apprehended by officers and taken to a city truancy center. Other schools with the highest number of truants included Northland, Walnut Ridge, South High, and Linden McKinely.

Ten officers in the unit are assigned to find the school-skipping students.  Sgt. Mark Rapp said parents often go to work without knowing their kids have not gone to school.

If they miss the bus, the parents need to get the child to school, Rapp said. A lot of times we catch kids who miss the bus and they decide on their own its a free day off from school.

Rapp said if they pick up students three times, the parents and kids are ordered to court.  About 10 percent of the cases are referred to the court system, Rapp said.

Superintendent for Columbus City Schools Dan Good said they are making progress in dealing with truancy.  Good said they have had a 13-percent reduction in cases in the last couple years.

I wont be satisfied until every single child finds meaning in education and wants to come to school every day, Good said.

The Mayors office, courts, and police, along with the YMCA truancy center plan a meeting Friday to look for ways to improve the system.

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