Kern High School District sweeps for truant students

BAKERSFIELD, Calif. (KBAK/KBFX) Officers contacted 49 students in a truancy sweep Wednesday morning.

It was a joint effort of Kern County High School District police and Bakersfield police.

Officers went door to door, stopping at the homes of students who didn't show up to school.

If students weren't in school, they found out why.

"The law says you have to be in school every single day," said Michael Collier, chief of the Kern High School District Police, "and if you're not, you're breaking the law. And if you break the law, there are consequences."

If students are found truant, consequences can range from a citation to incarceration in juvenile hall.

School administrators blame truancy for low graduation rates and other problems.

"Both the immediate effects of truancy and the long term effects of truancy are things that parents need to think about," said Kern County Deputy District Attorney Wendy Avila.

Statistics show truancy not only affects graduation rates, but has far-reaching effects on society.

One study says half of all prison inmates are high school dropouts.

"You have higher statistics of living in poverty, you have higher chances of not getting a full-time job, and you have higher chances of incarceration rates," Avila said.

But, schools say sweeps like these are efforts to keep students off the wrong path.

"If you don't have a high school diploma, what are you going to do with your life? There are a lot of places you can't even get a job without a high school diploma," said KCHSD Police Chief Mike Collier. "You can't go into the military if you don't have a high school diploma."