Mayor Michael Bloomberg launches campaign fighting chronic absenteeism

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THE COURIER/Billy Rennison
THE COURIER/Billy Rennison

Mayor Michael Bloomberg unveiled a new ad campaign today at P.S. 91 in Glendale fighting chronic absenteeism.

Missing just two days of school per month may not seem serious, but Mayor Michael Bloomberg said today that it presents a major obstacle to a high school diploma.

Seventy five percent of chronically absent sixth graders — defined as missing 20 or more days of school, or two per month —fail to graduate high school, the mayor said at a press conference at P.S. 91 in Glendale where he launched a new ad campaign fighting truancy.

“Chronic absenteeism also is often a child’s first step down the wrong path in life,” Bloomberg said.

The $9 million campaign updates the well-known ad questioning parents where their children are at night, instead asking, “It’s 9 a.m., do you know where your kids are?”

P.S. 91 is one of 50 pilot schools throughout the city partaking in the program “Every Student, Every Day,” which helps reduce chronic absenteeism by assigning students mentors.

In its first year in the program, P.S. 91 has reduced chronically absent students by 26 percent.