NEW BRITAIN, Conn. (WTNH) -- A Connecticut city is stepping up their fight against truancy. New Britain says some of their worst offenders are the youngest.
When you watch a group of kindergartners at baseball practice, it's hard to believe that 5-year-old's are at the head of the class when it comes to cutting class.
According to New Britain Public Schools, nearly 1/3 of kindergartners are chronically absent, that means more than 10 unexcused absences.
New Britain parent Victoria Richard says she it on the first day of school.
"One of the classes there was supposed to be 26 students and there were 10 students missing on the first day of school," Richard said.
"Kindergarten," asked News 8's Bob Wilson.
"Kindergarten," said Richard, "that's crazy!"
The Mayor says truancy is a symptom of a bigger problem, getting parents engaged in parenting.
"When you hear kindergarten has one of the highest truancy of all the grades what did you think," said Wilson.
"Obviously we have a lot of work to do," the Mayor said.
The school says when parents are involved in the classroom, the students show up and succeed. Just ask Coach Ed.
"My team here, the guys are always on time, ready to get to work," Coach Ed Ebrahimi said. "We have a great set of parents that are ready to help. I guess we are lucky because I didn't know it was such an issue."
"I make sure I go with them to make sure they are inside there," said Gwen Smith, of New Britain. "They didn't like that, and would say we don't need you, but I would go with them, make sure they are there."
The new school superintendent has lots of ideas on how to curb truancy, like fining parents and students $75 for unexcused absences or having them do community service.
"There should be something done about it," said Richard, "because the parents are lazy and they should do something about it.
"Would you back a $75 fine," asked Wilson.
" I definitely would," Richard said.
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