(KMOV) -- St. Louis City leaders are stressing the importance of children, especially in younger grades to attend school every day.
Juvenile officers with the St. Louis Circuit Court went door-to-door in the city neighborhoods to meet with parents of new kindergarteners to drive home the message that keeping children out of the classroom could have long term effects.
Chronic absenteeism is defined as missing eighteen or more days per year. Officers then focus their attention on kids from kindergarten to eighth-grade who missed more than 30 days in the past school year.
According to a statement released by city officials, a chronically absent child will typically be unable to master reading in Grade 3, will start failing classes in Grade 6, and will face a much higher risk of dropping out in high school.
“St. Louis has great kids, and we want them to be in school - every day - to become the great adults we need them to be,” Mayor Francis Slay said.
Low income children are most likely to have poor attendance in the early grades than other students.
“This a critical issue facing the City of St. Louis,” said Judge David Mason. “The habit of missing school starts early and too often begins the downward spiral of failing grades, dropping out of school and succumbing to a life of crime.”
Mayor Francis Slay, SLPS Superintendent Kelvin Adams and Juvenile Court Judge David Mason joined forces at St. Louis City Hall on Wednesday to stress the importance of regular school attendance as the first day quickly approaches.