3truancies frequently drop out of school, a personal tragedy, but also a financial burdentransferred to the taxpayer.
On average, a high school dropout will cost taxpayers in hislifetime $292,000 in lower tax revenues, public assistance benefits, and imposedincarceration costs relative to a high school graduate.
Student and family behavioral health problems contribute to truancy:
Warnings of a behavioral pattern leading to chronic truancy seen early:
Truancy inthe District begins in the early grades, becomes a pattern in the middle school years andexplains, in part, a pattern in which 48.8 percent of ninth graders fail to graduate withinfour years.
Truant students impact attendance behaviors of other students:
Truant students,while cheating themselves of a responsible, productive future, frequently endanger otherstudents who are attempting to travel back and forth to school safely. Truant students areoften connected to neighborhood crime.
Unsafe schools contribute to truancy:
Internal school safety issues can and do, inidentified situations, cause truancy when students are not able to travel safely back andforth to school or are unable to safely move between classes within the school.Suspension practices must be monitored closely to ensure that students are not pushed outof school.
Domestic and dating violence and teenage pregnancies part of the picture of schoolsafety and truancy:
Witnesses testified that as much as 43 percent of teen datingviolence incidents were reported to have taken place on a school campus and teen victimsof dating violence report higher rates of truancy, more negative contact with theirteachers and increased conflict with other students.
Bullying and harassment because of sexual orientation or gender identity contributeto truancy
: Representatives of organizations working with Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual,Transgender and Questioning (“LGBTQ”) youth testified that their clients were“disproportionately affected by school safety issues like bullying, harassment andviolence.”
Limited family resources, lack of money for transportation and appropriateclothing contribute to truancy:
Practitioners and teachers stated that factors rangingfrom the availability of clean clothing, appropriate winter clothing and Metro fare,especially during the last two weeks of the month prevent school attendance.
Michael Birnbaum, D.C. graduation rates down, Washington Post (June 9, 2009).
Sum, A., Khatiwada, I., & McLaughlin, J. (2009). The consequences of dropping outof high school: Joblessness and jailing for high school dropouts and the cost fortaxpayers. Center for Labor Market Studies, Northeastern University.