Showing Up Matters

Tyrone social worker Molly Stroup encourages students to come to school


Mario Grugan

Social worker Molly Stroup

How many of us have missed a day of school? Realistically, almost everyone.

But imagine for a second that you missed 10 percent of the school year.

In fact, one and seven U.S students miss nearly a month of school.

And the consequences of chronic absenteeism are serious.

The employers I meet are looking for people to hire who will be there.

— Molly Stroup

According to a California study, 83 percent of chronically absent students in kindergarten can’t read on grade level by third grade. According to another study done in Maryland, even a small amount of absenteeism a large indicator that a person will drop out of school. That study showed that almost 60 percent of high school dropouts were chronically absent in 6th grade.  

Why do students miss so many days of school?

According to Tyrone school social worker Molly Stroup, students often don’t find school productive because they can’t apply it to the real world.  

But Stroup, a 15 year veteran of her job, says that “the employers I meet are looking for people to hire who will be there.”

She explained how little illnesses such as the colds and headaches are things that students will have to learn to deal with in the real world.

“Pushing through is something which we learn to do so we can be good at it as an adult,” said Stroup.

Stroup also stressed that students and their parents should remember that school attendance is not only good for their future, its also the law. 

Under Pennsylvania state law, habitual truancy of six or more unexcused absences can constitute a violation of the law. The maximum fine for truancy for a 15-year-old student is as much as $300 for a first offense and $750 for multiple offenses.

All I have to say is don’t give up on school. An education is one of the most important things you can have in this world”

— Aaron McCaulley

The way to limit this, according to Stroup,  is by “bringing the world here.”

If we can put meaning into school then we might start seeing more success stories like 2016 Tyrone graduate Aaron McCaulley .

When McCaulley was in eighth grade, he really didn’t see the value of coming to school and by his freshman year, his attitude toward school began to deteriorate and his attendance dropped significantly.

He quickly fell behind in his work, which resulted in failing grades. McCaulley was definitely at risk of dropping out. But with the help of several Tyrone teachers and staff members, he slowly began to pick up his attendance and catch up on his school work.

“Look at your friends. Look at where you are going to be in 20 years. Always believe in yourself. You’re starting your own way,” said McCaulley.

Learning a valuable lesson, McCaulley, who graduated with his class, said “don’t give up on school. An education is one of the most important things you can have in this world.”