Minneapolis leaders discuss truancy in crime prevention meeting

Children skipping school is a problem, and the City of Minneapolis is looking for answers.  

Tuesday at a violence prevention meeting, city, county and community leaders came together to work toward a solution for that and other issues.

The meeting focused on crime stats and crime prevention, but one of the things that came up for a rather lengthy discussion was truancy. City and county leaders believe truancy leads to crime. Recently, violent crime in Minneapolis has been going up.

In just the last school year, there were almost 11,000 kids reported truant to Hennepin County’s Be At School program. To get added to the list, they had to have at least six unexcused absences.  

“Years ago I remember we used to have truancy officers,” said Minneapolis Police Deputy Chief Arthur Knight. “That’s what their job was picking up truancy. I can tell you right now the resources are not there right now to be doing this. We have to prioritize, like Ms. Crockett said, ‘Go down Broadway in the middle of the day.’ When you only have two or three squads out, you going to tie your squads up doing that?”

Ideas discussed included having schools or social workers at schools make referrals to the juvenile service center that can connect kids to resources or possibly have community-based organizations make referrals. Leaders even posited that truancy might not have to be a police matter at all.

City officials are planning future discussion on the topic.