A pressing issue in Prince George's County is school absenteeism, which has worsened with the coronavirus pandemic and continues to grow strongly, impacting many families in the jurisdiction and surrounding areas.
“After the pandemic, many students did not return to classes. What are those students doing? What are these young people doing?” asked Aisha Braveboy, state attorney for Prince George's, in a meeting with the press on Saturday.
"They are here in the communities, and some of them are making bad decisions," he replied, diagnosing the serious problem.
Therefore, with the school calendar underway in the county, Prosecutor Braveboy announced that she will focus on the issue of truancy, along with other issues, over the next few weeks.
As it did last year, Braveboy said it will again, along with school district officials, send a joint letter to parents of children who have five or more days of unexcused absences. The letters will inform parents and legal guardians that they could face legal consequences if they do not ensure that their children between the ages of five and 16 attend school regularly.
“We have a truancy court in Prince George's County,” Braveboy said in support of the measure.
However, he cautioned that while truancy court is designed to hold parents accountable for sending their children to school, "the ultimate goal is not to penalize parents."
“The real goal is compliance,” Braveboy remarked.
She went on to say that she, along with other county officials, are examining the factors that can keep a child out of school. At the same time, they seek to identify resources "that can help children and adolescents keep up with school attendance."
Braveboy pointed out that national statistics show that most juvenile crimes occur between 1 pm and 7 pm, and that situation is reflected in his county as well.