Extensive absenteeism found in BX elementary schools

THE BRONX - A new report has found that absenteeism is a major problem at many Bronx elementary schools.

The report, published by the Center for New York City Affairs, says that 20 percent of all city elementary students were habitually absent last year, missing at least one month of school.

According to the report, the number of students marked absent spiked in many low-income neighborhoods. Some parents say that while things are difficult in many of these neighborhoods, there is no excuse for the absenteeism.

"It's up to the parent to send your child to school every day," says Danielle Boyce. "Sometimes you might be lazy, you don't feel like it, but still your child needs to go to school."

The report makes several recommendations to tackle the problem and also addresses an underlying issue of abuse and neglect of children. The Center for New York City Affairs suggests that teachers and staff be given extensive training about how to deal with cases of abuse.

Dennis M. Walcott, the deputy mayor for education and community development, says the city's goal is to make sure schools are inviting places for all children to attend.

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