Lo Pao Vang knows all too well about the link between truancy and crime.
(Speaking in Hmong) "I have two children that were chronically truant. They were eventually enticed and they eventually joined gangs and slipped out of the school system."
The Hmong immigrant’s two eldest sons are gang members who started off skipping school. Now Lo Pao, who lives in the Meadowview area of South Sacramento, wants to make sure his 4 younger children stay off the streets and in the classroom.
Lo Pao is one of several parents working with school district officials and police on a pilot project called the Student Attendance Center. Neng Vang – a Hmong community activist with the center – says at previous attendance facilities kids just hung out.
"It was like a holding tank. This attendance center is designed to link that child into services, try and narrow down why is this child being truant."
Police who catch truant kids will now drop them off at the Student Attendance Center located at Luther Burbank High School where assessments can be made to find out what services they need to keep them in school.