When I was a kid and would watch TV, every time there was mention of a truancy officer, I always pictured this big, angry, scowl-y cop showing up at your house, and dragging you kicking and screaming to school. To be fair, I'm pretty sure that's what it was like for my mother when I was a kid, but trust me, you didn't say no to my mother!

But apparently, according to the Portland Press Herald, the state is looking to really dig into the problem of what it describes as "chronic absenteeism". I don't have kids of my own, so sometimes things like this slip by me, but I was shocked to learn that Maine has a 16% chronic absenteeism rate. And one of the biggest problem areas is with kids 5-6 years old.

When kids don't make it to school enough and fall behind, it sets up a greater risk of not only academic disengagement, but much higher risk of just plain old dropping out. Getting kids to school regularly when they're at that age typically leads to a better chance of staying in school.

Now, the way I described it above, is the exact opposite of the way truancy issues will be handled. The interface will be mostly with parents to try and help understand what's leading to the problems, whether it's health, or environment, or whatnot. And, the program is not going to be designed in a way to penalize people. It's just going to try and activate communities to help address the issues.

So relax, guys. No one is is going to raid the house, and drag the kids off kicking and screaming to go and force feed them knowledge. But... They may knock on your door and ask if there's anything they can do to help.

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