Superintendent: "We can not teach them if they are not here"

Superintendent: "We can not teach them if they are not here"
Source: WDAM Archives

HATTIESBURG, MS (WDAM) - With summer winding down, school officials are urging the importance of attendance for the 2017 school year.

Hattiesburg Public School District Superintendent Robert Williams said there were too many absences last year and when kids are not at school, their learning is hindered.

"We can not teach them if they are not here. You can make up work, but you cannot make up instruction," Williams said.  "So we need our parents to make sure out students are present everyday, they are performing everyday and they are also participating each and every day."

Williams said there was a 30% chronic absentee rate last year at Hattiesburg High School.  That means 30%, or about 300 students (based on a 1,000 student enrollment), missed more than 18 days.

Williams said they tend to see a higher number of absences among high school students, but elementary schools had around or less than 10% chronic absentee rate for the 2016-2017 school year.  Williams said he believed N.R. Burger Middle School was around 14% to 15%.

"It's too high, students have to be here," Williams said.

WDAM 7 reached out to the Hattiesburg School District for absentee rates among all schools in the district, those numbers were not immediately available.

"We're in this together," Williams said.  "We need our students present, we need our students actively engaged and we are very excited about their work."