Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

UF Study: Polarizing Parents And Schools Make Truancy Worse

Date:
November 18, 1998
Source:
University Of Florida
Summary:
A child skips one school day after another. The teacher and principal blame the parents for not disciplining the youngster, while mom and dad fault the school for not giving the child the benefit of the doubt. This tug-of-war is no child's game when it frequently makes the problem of truancy worse, a new University of Florida study suggests.

Writer: Cathy Keen

Related Articles


Source: David Hefty, (352) 334-3850

GAINESVILLE, Fla. --- A child skips one school day after another. The teacher and principal blame the parents for not disciplining the youngster, while mom and dad fault the school for not giving the child the benefit of the doubt.

This tug-of-war is no child's game when it frequently makes the problem of truancy worse, a new University of Florida study suggests.

"Parents and schools often polarize, and the child loses out when these two key players are not able to resolve their differences," said David Hefty, who did the research for his doctoral dissertation at UF in mental health counseling. "The impact is like having two conflicting parents. The child is able to work one against the other."

An estimated 8 to 20 percent of American students are absent from school each day without a valid excuse, said Hefty, who in early 1998 studied 50 Alachua County families with truant children and 50 families without such a problem.

"Truancy is a serious social problem because it impacts us at so many different levels," he said. "Students who skip school are at increased risk for poor academic performance, dropping out of school, depression, unemployment and even substance abuse in later life. Also at the community level, research has shown time and time again a relationship between truancy and juvenile delinquency, with interventions decreasing the daytime crime rate."

For school districts, regular student attendance is important because it affects the amount of state funding they receive, Hefty said. Large districts such as New York and Chicago have complained of losing millions of dollars as a result of truancy, he said.

The problem has worsened as society has become more transitory, Hefty said. "There isn't that old school marm stereotype that there was years ago, when there was a much closer relationship between the school and families than there is now," he said.

Truancy occurs for a variety of social and economic reasons, said Hefty, who alsoworks as program director for the Alachua County Truancy Center.

"It's common for us to encounter youth who skip school to go out and work at a paying job because they don't have money for shoes or clothes and are embarrassed by their appearance," he said. "Or a child may have to babysit at home. At the truancy center, law enforcement have even brought in youth who were prostituting all night. For those children, school is not even a consideration."

Often, truancy comes as a complete surprise to parents, who may drop their children off at the bus stop and assume they arrive at school only to learn they have been absent for weeks, Hefty said. Even though the law requires schools to notify parents after their children have accumulated a certain number of unexcused absences, Hefty said he encourages parents to check in on a regular basis with the school system.

If a student continues to skip school, that suggests the key players in the child's life -- parents and school officials -- have failed to deal with the problem and the situation will continue until they resolve it, Hefty said.

"Schools need to make overtures toward engaging families," Hefty said. "Families work well with schools when they feel they have an ally, someone who's willing to sit down and understand their struggles."

Although the public school system already is overburdened, he said, there are other agencies to help them, including a state truancy program called Child in Need of Services/Families in Need of Services offered through the Florida Department of Juvenile Justice.

Jim Pearce, executive director of the Corner Drug Store, a drug counseling center in Gainesville, said Hefty's research is valuable because it focuses on why young people are truant. "We see so many different types of youngsters who are truant," he said. "It isn't just to skip school to enjoy springtime, to take drugs or alcohol, or because other students skip. It's a mixed game, why they skip, and so we need to treat them individually on a case-by-case basis."


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by University Of Florida. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

University Of Florida. "UF Study: Polarizing Parents And Schools Make Truancy Worse." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 18 November 1998. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/1998/11/981117145506.htm>.
University Of Florida. (1998, November 18). UF Study: Polarizing Parents And Schools Make Truancy Worse. ScienceDaily. Retrieved December 21, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/1998/11/981117145506.htm
University Of Florida. "UF Study: Polarizing Parents And Schools Make Truancy Worse." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/1998/11/981117145506.htm (accessed December 21, 2014).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Science News

Sunday, December 21, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Building Google Into Cars

Building Google Into Cars

Reuters - Business Video Online (Dec. 19, 2014) Google's next Android version could become the standard that'll power your vehicle's entertainment and navigation features, Reuters has learned. Fred Katayama reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
The Best Tips to Curb Holiday Carbs

The Best Tips to Curb Holiday Carbs

Buzz60 (Dec. 19, 2014) It's hard to resist those delicious but fattening carbs we all crave during the winter months, but there are some ways to stay satisfied without consuming the extra calories. Vanessa Freeman (@VanessaFreeTV) has the details. Video provided by Buzz60
Powered by NewsLook.com
AP Review: Nikon D750 and GoPro Hero 4

AP Review: Nikon D750 and GoPro Hero 4

AP (Dec. 19, 2014) What to buy an experienced photographer or video shooter? There is some strong gear on the market from Nikon and GoPro. The AP's Ron Harris takes a closer look. (Dec. 19) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
After Sony Hack, What's Next?

After Sony Hack, What's Next?

Reuters - US Online Video (Dec. 19, 2014) The hacking attack on Sony Pictures has U.S. government officials weighing their response to the cyber-attack. Linda So reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins