Why some city students stay home from school

Oct 8, 2015

With more than half of Buffalo Public high school students missing more than a month of school the city district remains focused on removing barriers that prevent students from going to school. WBFO's Focus on Education Reporter Eileen Buckley says specific problems cause some students to stay home.

Inside a Buffalo school.
Credit WBFO News file photo

"Some students are taking care of younger siblings, or some students have health related situations," said David Mauricio, Chief of Strategic Alignment for Buffalo Schools. 

Buffalo school students.
Credit WBFO News photo by Eileen Buckley

Mauricio said some students are dealing with social emotional needs that are far greater than supports within the school. The District works with community based partners to assist.  

Meanwhile, other students are hindered by transportation. In fact a listener alerted us that each day when taking a Metro Bus to work, he watches students turned away because the buses are overcrowded.  Mauricio acknowledges that is a problem for some city students.

"That is a reality that some of our students face as they are taking buses to our high schools. In some ways, we have to work with transportation to improve that, but in other ways, the reality is, if the bus passes you by, you've got to get up earlier and catch an earlier bus," stated Mauricio. 

For some female city students teenage pregnancy can also create attendance issues.

"You know we have over 200 a year still. That number fluctuates, but it's not like this dramatic decrease," said Assunta Ventresca, Director Health Related Services in the Buffalo schools. 

Ventresca is pushing for the creation of a pregnant and parenting school for the city district.

"Hoping this year we can really get it more strongly on the table so in September it is up and running, so we could have early childhood, we could have daycare. Trying to keep our students to finish school, to stay in school, to graduate," replied Ventresca.

Inside a Buffalo classroom.
Credit WBFO News file photo

Mauricio said the district shares in the responsibility for the barriers to attendance, but at the same time the district encourages  students, parents and families to help mitigate the challenges.

"When there are multiple factors related to the challenges of attendance or doing well in school, that compounds the scenario for the student," said Mauricio.