School truancy is common in the United States; however, youths’ perspectives on the underlying reasons for and the best ways to curtail this phenomenon are lacking. This project sought to better understand what factors contribute to youths’ decisions to skip classes or ditch full days of school over time and to solicit youths’ recommendations on how to reduce truancy and improve system functioning. We used a community partnered qualitative descriptive approach to conduct in-depth interviews with 39 youths with a history of truancy from South and East Los Angeles. Youths’ experiences and recommendations illustrate the multiple factors that influence school truancy and suggest potential leverage points for reducing truancy, including modifications to the school environment to increase student engagement; a more effective school response to address truancy; and further involvement and engagement of parents. Researchers, policy makers, and school practitioners can use results to help inform efforts to address school truancy.
Truancy, Chronic Absenteeism, Qualitative, Community-Partnered Research
The authors thank Juan Pena, Mario Rodriguez, and Nafeesa Toney from the Youth Justice Coalition for serving as youth research assistants. The research described was supported in part by the National Institutes of Health/National Center for Advancing Translational Science UCLA CTSI [grant numbers: UL1TR000124 and TL1TR000121]. The findings and conclusions in this article are those of the authors and do not necessarily represent the views or the official position of the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health, the University of California, Los Angeles, or the funding agencies.
Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 4.0 International License.
Recommended APA Citation
Gase, L. N., DeFosset, A., Perry, R., & Kuo, T. (2016). Youths' Perspectives on the Reasons Underlying School Truancy and Opportunities to Improve School Attendance. The Qualitative Report, 21(2), 299-320. https://doi.org/10.46743/2160-3715/2016.2231