Kentucky Court of Justice
Judge Joan Byer announces that August is National Truancy Prevention Month
FRANKFORT, Ky. -- Jefferson County Family Court Judge Joan Byer, a board member of the National Truancy Prevention Association, announced this week that the United States Senate recently passed a resolution declaring August as National Truancy Prevention Month. Judge Byer is also the immediate past president of the National Truancy Prevention Association, a position she held from 2005 through 2007, and a founding member of the association.
“By declaring August as National Truancy Prevention Month, the National Truancy Prevention Association hopes to bring its goals of eliminating truancy and expanding the scope of dropout prevention programs into the national limelight,” Judge Byer said. “We can’t afford to lose young, promising lives to these issues that are preventable and costly to society. Together we can forge a strong forefront and combat these destructive behaviors head on.
“With the help of all Kentuckians, we can dedicate August as a month to focus on a serious problem that crosses all social, economic and racial sectors. Truancy knows no boundaries. It is incumbent upon us to educate our citizens that together we can make a difference.”
Students who demonstrate a lack of commitment to school are at an increased risk for substance abuse, delinquency, teen pregnancy and school dropout. Thirty percent of American students do not earn their high school diploma, according to the National Truancy Prevention Association. The average annual income for a high school dropout was $17,299 in 2005, compared to $26,933 for a high school graduate, according to the association.
Preventing rising dropout rates means confronting truancy early. A recent survey found that 11 percent of eighth-grade students reported skipping at least one day of school during a 30-day period. By 12th grade, 35 percent of students were skipping one day every 30 days, according to the National Truancy Prevention Association.
“The National Truancy Prevention Association is working diligently to raise awareness across the country about the devastating and long-lasting impact that truancy and related issues have on a vast number of juveniles, their families and the communities they live in,” National Truancy Prevention Association President Ron Pagliarini said.
In Kentucky, the Court of Justice and the Department of Education collaborated in 2005 to create the Truancy Diversion Program to combat the negative results of truancy. The program assists students at risk of being charged with habitual truancy and is working with more than 5,000 students in 91 schools in 57 Kentucky counties. A Truancy Diversion Program Review Team reviews participants’ attendance records, behavior reports and grades; identifies any problem areas, and develops a detailed action plan for their families. The team also offers support, incentives and affirmation to participating students. Each review team is comprised of a judge, court designated workers, school personnel, the director of pupil personnel, social services representatives and others. The Department of Juvenile Services at the Administrative Office of the Courts in Frankfort administers the program.
The AOC is the operational arm of the Kentucky Court of Justice and supports the activities of 4,000 court system employees, including the elected offices of justices, judges and circuit court clerks.