Pueblo City Schools seeing attendance problems

PUEBLO, Colo. - New numbers released by Pueblo City Schools reveal thousands of students in Pueblo aren't showing up for class.

More than a fourth of the district's entire student body have been chronically absent. District 60 says they have a major truancy problem.

They say obviously it's different for every student and that's what makes it difficult to solve, but they explained to us there is a difference between being chronically absent and habitually truant. 

Here's the breakdown. Chronically absent means missing 10 percent or more of the school year, which can can equally about 15 days missing.  Then those students who are habitually truant have four or more unexcused absences in a month or 10 unexcused absences in a year.  

There are 17,000 students in Pueblo City Schools. More than 4,600 students were chronically absent last school year -- that's 27 percent of the whole student body. 

"Obviously solving truancy and absenteeism doesn't work by suspending those students, so we want to be very supportive, " said Dalton Sprouse, with Pueblo City School. "One of the key ways that we do that is through our community advocates." 

District 60 hoping for more bodies in the building when the bell rings. 

"Work closely with these families, and students they educate both, the importance of education, in school on time, in class every day," Sprouse said. 

Some students say it's not that hard but kids could be influenced by their peers.

"Its important you need the education to have a good future," said Gabrielle Jaquez, a 11th grader at Central High School.  

"You always see on social media how people are ditching school and they think its funny and stuff," said Alize Trujillo, an 8th grader at Pueblo Academy of Arts.  

The district said they have have bigger problems. 

"Maybe the student is lazy but there could be other issues that could really boil down to things of mental health or challenges in the home, sometimes they are getting their siblings ready for school, sometimes they may not have ride on time," said Sprouse.  

Local parents recognize it's their responsibility too. 

"A big cause of it is apathy from the parent. We as parents have to step up and you know have to step up making sure their parents are getting to school every day, fulfilling responsibilities to our society," said Isaac Rosenbloom, a parent.  

With 27 percent of students missing from class last school year, district officials say that it's improvement from the year before, where nearly 30 percent of students were missing.   

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