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Teenage Truancy

Apr 1, 2011, 3:35 PM | Article By: Adelaide Mendy

Every year, all around the world, legions of teenager drop out of school due to varying reasons, ranging from in-affordability to inability or unwillingness to conform and adapt to the formal education system. The latter includes kids from broken or violent homes, ones who don’t receive the amount of care and attention that they need in order to function in this setting. Legions of un-nurtured, untapped potential laid to waste.

Truancy is defined as any blatant and intentional unauthorized absence from compulsory schooling. This is deliberate absenteeism centered around freewill and not due to unavoidable circumstances such as medical conditions/illnesses. It also covers the scope of individuals who attend school but dodge formal classes. The term's exact meaning differs from one primary learning institution to another, with concise definitions in their handbooks or rules and regulation governing enrolment and attendance.

In some schools, truancy may result in an ineligibility to graduate or receive credit for class attended, until the time lost has been made up for through a combination of detention and/or summer school. In most cases schools contact and keep a close relationship with local authorities to combat 'ditching'. Most schools have gate guards or door men who monitor and control kid’s exit during approved learning hours.

Truancy is the first indicator of potential trouble; a sad case of a youth loosing his or her focus and way. Usually when such things start to happen (young people skipping school), it is a blatant cry for attention and help.  Such cries, whether directed at parents, school officials, and the community at large is one of need for rescuing. Often times, they themselves don’t even realize that they are reaching out, sub-consciously seeking help to keep moving forward in life.

Research data tells us that students who become truant and eventually drop out of school put themselves at a long term disadvantage in becoming productive citizens. High school dropouts, for example, are two and a half times more likely to be on welfare (either from the state in developed nations or being dependent on family and friends, sometimes being reduced to begging) than high school graduates and twice as likely to be unemployed than high school graduates, In addition, high school dropouts who are employed earn much lower wages. Students who become truant and eventually drop out of high school too often set themselves up for a life of struggle.

In the west (more developed nations) some countries may cater for the appointment of truancy officers who have the authority to arrest habitual offenders and bring them to their parents or to the school they are supposed to attend. Truancy regulations today are generally enforced by school officials under the context of parental responsibility.

There is no sure proof way to ensure the complete wipeout of truancy in our various societies but, certain measures can be taken to limit its practice among students. It is extremely prudent for all parents or guardians to be avidly involved and alert about every aspect of their teen's school life. Getting to know their teachers, the school administrators' is absolutely essential (so make it a habit to attend PTA meetings and parent teacher meet and greets). With constant monitoring, the slightest problems can be nipped in the bud and issues troubling the teen resolved before it escalates to a point of no return.

As a parent, always keep the lines of communications open with your teenager when it comes to school environment. Allow them to vent if they need to about a teacher, a class or any other thing or area that they need to talk about. Every one needs to blow off steam. If there seems to be a major problem, work with the school and teacher to find an answer.

Let your teenager know what the consequences are for being a truant. And if need be, have your teen talk to a guidance counselor. In a lot of cases, teens tend to listen harder when these things come from another source.

There are many factors that contribute to truancy which is why parent’s and guardians need to take a special interest in their teen's academic and personal home life. Keep up to speed and you will be able to brave and calm the waves when the boat rocks occasionally. The teen years are the most impressionable therefore extra care must be taken so they as our future are shaped well, able to overcome challenges that they will meet in their respective lives. Start nurturing and prepping the future right now.