School districts across Illinois are trying a variety of strategies to get truant students back in the classroom. A program in Galesburg is succeeding where Chicago has failed, reducing the number of chronically truant students. Truancy officers make home visits and can issue $75 tickets to parents whose children have repeated absences. Outreach workers say they sometimes give a child an alarm clock or a pair of shoes. Other cases are harder to solve when there's domestic violence or mental illness involved. Galesburg outreach workers have walked into meth houses and been threatened in their efforts to get kids to school. Galesburg school officials say the anti-truancy program has paid for itself by bringing in state funding that's tied to attendance.
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