HATTIESBURG, MISS. – Hattiesburg Public School District's Superintendent, Robert William made it very clear Thursday morning during a press conference, that the district will crack down on chronic absenteeism.
“Currently, we have over 700 students with five or more unexcused absences, and we have approximately 200 students with over 200 absences,” Williams stated. “What chronic absenteeism means is those students miss 18 or more days within an academic school year.”
During the 2016-17 school year, the district saw this number grow to 17 percent.
Accompanied by Hattiesburg’s Mayor Toby Barker and the Hattiesburg Police Department, officials spoke about how student absences affect the entire school district.
“It affects the funding level that our school district receives,” Barker said. “Furthermore, if you are just out on the street, and you see a school-age child that’s not in school during the day [please call] 601-584-6311.”
Barker urges the community to call-in students who might be playing hooky for the day, as indications show students who miss school are more likely to drop out and begin to head down a negative path.
“It’s important because this is our future,” Williams said. “When students perform well in our school district, everyone benefits.”
The school district mentioned various penalties could fall on students who continue to miss school. The district also said they will hold monthly review boards, checking every student’s attendance.