- - Monday, April 18, 2011


Council considers truancy findings

D.C. Council members on Monday voted to accept an interim report designed to combat student truancy, a rampant problem that is linked to crime in city neighborhoods and public transit systems.

The Special Committee on School Safety and Truancy was formed in January and released its report last week. It found 13 percent of D.C. high school students were “chronic truants,” missing at least 15 days of classes without valid excuses during the first half of this school year.

The interim report, produced by council member Sekou Biddle, at-large Democrat, says students skipped school for a variety of reasons, including unsafe routes to and from home, bullying, teen dating violence, lack of proper attire or not having Metro fare.

The committee voted to “receive,” rather than adopt, the report, providing a window to tweak some of the conclusions.

Phil Mendelson, at-large Democrat, said he was “uneasy” about giving full-fledged support, noting that certain legislation included in the report has not been vetted in hearings.

Mary M. Cheh, Ward 3 Democrat, recommended a hierarchy of priorities to figure out what should be tackled first, and which can be funded immediately.

Council Member Marion Barry, Ward 8 Democrat, commended the report and aired his concern about the topic.

“It’s more than an acute problem; it’s an epidemic,” he said.

- Tom Howell Jr.

Woman found stabbed in Anacostia Park

Metropolitan Police said Monday they are investigating the killing of a Northwest woman found fatally stabbed in the parking lot of the Anacostia Park Skating Pavilion.

U.S. Park Police responded to the 1800 block of Anacostia Drive in Southeast at about 9:50 p.m. Sunday for reports of a woman down. Moments later, D.C. police officers responded to the same location for a call about a woman possibly struck.

The woman, identified as Sonya Lynch, 46, was unresponsive. When officers examined her, they discovered what appeared to be stab wounds. Fire and emergency medical services personnel responded but found no signs of life. The woman was later pronounced dead by a member of the chief medical examiner’s office.

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