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Committee of the Whole | Public Roundtable: Student Absenteeism and Discipline

May 13, 2024

Executive Director Judith Sandalow testified before the Committee of the Whole at the public roundtable on Student Absenteeism and Discipline in DC. The roundtable provides “an opportunity to discuss legislative solutions to the urgent issue of student absenteeism” and will review proposed solutions, recommendations and four separate truancy bills introduced to the council, aimed at addressing absenteeism.

Our testimony covers several important changes that are necessary to make a meaningful improvement in school attendance rates. These changes will require investments at the student, school and system level. To identify and remove attendance barriers for individual students, schools and intervention programs must have specific, timely data and robust resources to meet the diverse needs of DC’s children and families. The District’s systems of support must better coordinate and collaborate across government agencies and Council committees to ensure that students and families have timely access to appropriate resources. Mostly importantly, while we do the hard work of building a system that can meet the needs of each individual student, we must ensure that DC’s laws and policies do not impose additional harm on those we are trying to support.