Virtual students and parents struggling with truancy

Local News

BLAIR COUNTY, Pa (WTAJ) — With covid-19 continually changing our lives, including working parents, education for their kids has become a growing challenge.

With many students no longer having to attend school in person, there are now some questions about how schools are handling absences and truancy issues.

Schools are trying to work with parents, but are struggling to meet the needs of every family and if there is no cooperation from the home, Hollidaysburg Area School District superintendent, Dr. Robert Gildea said as a very last resort, that parent or student could be sent to court.

“Students have to attend school until age 18 and if students either stop going or don’t want to go or don’t feel like going parents are still responsible for making sure their children go to school,” attorney at law, Matthew McGregor said.

But some working parents are finding it difficult to make sure their children are being marked present.

“We have a lot of families that have two working parents and don’t have other options for daycare so they need that in-person learning,” Gildea said

While Hollidaysburg offers in person learning now, when they were completley virtual they ran into this same issue.

“Students just weren’t engaging, and we couldn’t keep them engaged, and I think that’s probably whats showing up in the court system and truancy system is those kids to a certain degree are not motivated and the parents don’t have the ability to be home and provide that motivation and support,” Gildea said.

McGregor said it’s more than just motivation.

“Some issues are technological, some issues are just having difficulty because the parents aren’t there to supervise their older children to work and some issues have to do with the change in formats,” McGregor said.

He adds the more communication there is between schools and parents, could avoid cases ending up in court.

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