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Going Door-to-Door to Crack Down on Cutting Classes

CLEVELAND– It may be spring break, but some Cleveland students aren’t escaping school just yet. Instead, they’re being reminded about how important it really is.

“We’re targeting students that have more than 20 absences. That could be the entire day or a classroom absence; either way they’re missing opportunities for learning and instruction,” said Lester Fultz, chief of safety and security for Cleveland Metropolitan School District.

He said they have a list of 200 ninth graders who’ve missed more than 20 days of class.

As you can imagine, that number isn’t sitting well with the district, so now, they’re trying to do something about it.

On Thursday, school officials stopped by those students’ houses to talk with their parents.

“We’re encouraging our parents that this is not the last opportunity that they have to engage with us, that they contact us, their school principal, that they contact the attendance liaisons, that we devise a plan that works to make sure their student is in school every day,” said Fultz.

One of the homes they stopped by was Gail Matthews. She was surprised to hear about her son, Isaac, being absent so much.

“I see that I’ve got more work to do here. My kids are not bad kids. They don’t run the neighborhood or anything like that, but somewhere he’s gotten off track, so what I’ve got to do is have more accountability,” she said.

Fultz said that’s the kind of reaction he’s been getting a lot.

“They are leaving with their kids in the morning, expecting them to go to school and be there all day. They are finding out today that they may not always be the case. So this is a conversation that allows our parents to become our partners in the education of their students,” he said.