Quincy Public Schools tackling truancy - WGEM.com: Quincy News, Weather, Sports, and Radio

Quincy Public Schools tackling truancy

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Students work on homework at Quincy's Teen REACH. Students work on homework at Quincy's Teen REACH.
A sign on display at Quincy's Teen REACH. A sign on display at Quincy's Teen REACH.
Student reads a book. Student reads a book.
Students work on art projects. Students work on art projects.
QUINCY, Ill. (WGEM) -

A new report shows the Quincy Public School District has the highest truancy rate in the area. 

At Quincy Junior High, it's hard to get students through the doors as the school is one of the highest truancy rates in the district at 15%.

Akiira Wilson, a freshman at Quincy High School, worked on homework at Quincy's Teen REACH Friday. However, at one point she was kicked out of school for fighting, which led to her getting a truancy ticket.

"It was like I knew school was important, but some things that I didn't think was important, I wouldn't do," Wilson said.

Wilson says Quincy's Teen REACH helped turn it around for her.

"School is the most important thing that you need," Wilson explained.

Superintendent Roy Webb says programs like Teen REACH are important to lower the district truancy rate from 12%. However, he says for each truant student, there's a different reason. 

"It may be school apathy or it may be mental health illness or anxiety," Webb said. "The key for us is to build relationships with those kids and make them want to come to school."

Something Gary Yates sets out to do with each student at Teen REACH. He remembers back when he was truant going through the program.

"Everybody's home life isn't the same," Yates explained. "Some people are less fortunate, you know? It's hard for them to be motivated to get up and go to school."

Webb feels parents and guardians play a critical role in their student's education. 

"We want them to reach out to us and say hey, I have a problem with this or I have a concern with this," Webb added.

Yates hopes more students can find the desire to better themselves just like he did.

"Teen REACH is the only motivation that I had to go and graduate," Yates said. "As important it is for you to get up and go to work, it's that important that they get up and go to school. Period."

Administrators say they're continuing to partner with service agencies to find new or improve ways to motivate children to go to school. 

You can check out the district's report card here as well as each of the schools.

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