The pilot program to curb truancy began last year, and has helped at least 20 formerly truant students transition from middle school to high school. Students receive individual counseling and support from staff at the YMCA-run Truancy Assessment and Resource Center. Here's the part where Gascón throws numbers at you:
"Over 70 percent of the kids that we see in this program have an 85 percent or better attendance rate," Gascón said.
Victor Sosa, a 16-year-old sophomore at Burton High School and TARCp articipant, expressed his gratitude for the program. After learning about the nasty repercussions of dropping out (prison, homelessness, and no money), Sosa changed his attitude about going to school. "It's a safe place to be," he said.
Sosa intends to graduate in 2014 and pursue a college degree.
Much to our surprise, this truancy battle is a personal one for our district attorney. "I was a chronic truant myself," Gascón said. "I know ... without intervention, today's truants are tomorrow's dropouts."
His personal battle turned into a professional one as he emphasized the real connection between high school dropouts and crime.
"In San Francisco, a staggering 94 percent of young murder victims were high school dropouts," the DA said in a written statement.