Mayor asks businesses to report truant students

It was only appropriate when a young student rushed over to meet Mayor Gavin Newsom as he walked through the Mission District Tuesday afternoon to launch his anti-truancy campaign.

When the young student asked to meet him, he had a question for her: “Why aren't you in school right now?” Newsom said with a smile on his face. She shook his hand and assured the mayor that school let out early that day.

Still, it drove home point: that businesses and the community need to help encourage kids to stay in school. With the truancy rate hovering at 10 percent last school year, city and school officials are aiming to reduce that by more than 20 percent. As part of his anti-truancy campaign, Newsom walked the Inner Mission neighborhood — a hot spot fro truant kids — asking businesses to call school officials if they see students during school hours.

“There are kids out there that are good kids, but they could be better kids if they were in school,” Newsom said.

The first headcount reports will be out next week.

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