Attorney General report shows spike in truency

HANFORD, Calif. (KFSN) -- More kids are missing school in the South Valley according to a newly released report from the attorney general's office.

"The hopes are that the child starts going to school regularly."

Brian Gonzales' job isn't an easy one. As the truancy officer for Kings County Office of Education Gonzales is called when schools have exhausted their options.

"We're still prosecuting parents, we're still sending families to court."

New numbers from California Attorney General Kamala Harris show truancy in Kings County is up two and a half percent.

That means 1 in 4 students in the county are missing school.

Gonzales says the numbers are misleading.

"As a truancy rate goes higher that means the schools are identifying those truant students earlier."

The Attorney General's office tells us the numbers come from a sample size that's 12-percent of elementary-aged students.

"We think we're getting as accurate a picture as we can without having comprehensive statewide data on this subject," said Jill Habig Special Assistant Attorney General.

Schools aren't required to send attendance numbers to the state and that's something the attorney general's office wants to change.

Gonzales says more schools in Kings County would report but it takes time to collect the data.

But he adds that doesn't mean the schools aren't working hard to get every student coming to class.

"If students aren't in school especially the older ones, especially high school they're out on the streets doing something they shouldn't be doing."

Gonzales says here in Kings County they're now seeing less problems with families who were chronically truant in the past. null
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