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Truancy has been an ongoing issue in the lives of many urban and low-income students. Poor school attendance has been one of the earliest indicators of academic failure, delinquency, crime, poverty and etc. Although there has been number of different definitions for truancy, the law has consistently stated that underage students must attend school. It has been clear that addressing and combatting truancy has been issue in many cities. Research has identified many truancy risk indicators and various community factors have appeared to impact truancy rates. Additionally, within an urban setting, the availability of public transportation to and from school has also been implicated as a factor in school attendance. This current study examined the relationship between student truancy rates and community factors and the availability of student transportation. The results found that high school student had higher absent rates, that community factors were not related to number of absences, and a significant interaction between transportation and high school students.

Chapter 1


Need for Study

Truancy has been an ongoing problem, but over the last decade it has received profound attention (Development Services Group, Inc. 2010 & Trujillo, 2006). Truancy is one of the earliest indicators of academic failure, delinquency, crime and poverty, (Guan, 2012). Frequently, truant students have low self-esteem; feel isolated and unpopular and poor academic skills (Baltimore City Public Schools, 2015).

School officials as well as the district officials have recognized the importance of attending school on time and everyday (Chang, 2015). Not only does education mitigate the effects of poverty (Global Partnership, 2015), but also effectively prepares our students for success (National FFA Organization). Although, it is imperative to attend school (Gorde, 2015), students are still truant (Stoneleigh Foundation, 2015).

Due to the variation and complexity of the term truancy (Pawlowicz, 2011), there is no nationally accepted definition (Safe Schools Healthy Students, 2012). This impacts the capability for researchers to describe what really causes truancy (Pawlowicz, 2011). Even though the standards and policies of truancy vary across the United States, (Truancy Prevention, 2015) every state requires that students attend school (National Conference of State Legislatures, 2012). In addition, each state has their own levels of truancy (Attendance Works, 2014) and the number of days a student must miss in order to be considered truant is decided by the state (Shute & Cooper, 2014).



The purpose of this research study was to evaluate community factors that impact truancy rates of students. Investigating community factors that impact truancy rates may lead to improvement and support of at risk truant students. This study closely evaluated and analyzed how community factors such as transportation challenges, school climate and community vitality affect truancy rates as well as absenteeism in schools.


This study examined the following hypotheses: Students provided with transportation are less likely to be truant; community factors are related to number of absences; and absentee rates increase with student grade.

Operational Definitions

Truancy - students with 10 or more unexcused absences. Livability - considers community factors such economical and safe housing, mobility options, quality of schools and community safety.

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