More than 6.5 million children in the United States, approximately 13% of all students, miss 15 or more days of school each year. The rates of chronic absenteeism vary between states, communities, and schools, with significant disparities based on income, race, and ethnicity. Chronic school absenteeism, starting as early as preschool and kindergarten, puts students at risk for poor school performance and school dropout, which in turn, put them at risk for unhealthy behaviors as adolescents and young adults as well as poor long-term health outcomes. Pediatricians and their colleagues caring for children in the medical setting have opportunities at the individual patient and/or family, practice, and population levels to promote school attendance and reduce chronic absenteeism and resulting health disparities. Although this policy statement is primarily focused on absenteeism related to students’ physical and mental health, pediatricians may play a role in addressing absenteeism attributable to a wide range of factors through individual interactions with patients and their parents and through community-, state-, and federal-level advocacy.
- Copyright © 2019 by the American Academy of Pediatrics