"In a practical example, a youth may have skipped a few days of school, been kicked out of a recreation center for a fight, and been stopped by police for riding in a stolen vehicle," he said June 15, after lawmakers gave initial approval to his legislation. "Taken alone, each of these instances are concerning, but may not raise all the red flags needed. Current law prohibits [Department of Youth and Rehabilitative Services] and the police from alerting anyone to a potential problem through sharing information about the youth with his teacher, coach, and pastor, for example. This [legislation] breaks down those barriers."
With an estimated 8,000 kindergartners through fifth graders accumulating eight or more unexcused absences last school year, this is a "crisis" the city can no longer ignore, Mr. Wells said this week.