Attendance important for many reasons
Surely, the work Escambia County Schools' attendance officer Donna Revel, DA Steve Billy and Judge Dave Jordan did last week was not pleasant. Collectively, they pursued, brought charges against, and sentenced the mother of a fifth grader for failing to be responsible for her child.
The student has 59 unexcused absences over a two-year period. The mother's sentence was suspended; but one unexcused absence and she goes to jail.
That's a strong stand by our education and judicial systems for children, for parental responsibility, and for the importance of attending school. Not only is it the law, it is in the child's best interest to be in school.
But it also is in the school system's interest to see that students are in their desks ever day. Not only does attendance affect funding, but it also affects the accountability of the school and the system. For instance, if 95 percent of all students, and 95 percent of students in each subgroup (white, African American, special education, free and reduced lunch program and paid lunches) are not present when standardized tests are administered, attendance counts against school scores.
We salute those involved for their strong stand for education and for children. Making parents responsible now will go a long way toward rearing more responsible students.