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The Sunday Journal Times editorial on absenteeism offered a number of possible solutions; the issue left out was bullying.

I taught 32 years in Racine middle and high schools; over the years a number of students confided in me that they were being bullied, and shortly thereafter stopped coming to school.

Some cases happened on the way to school and administrators said there was nothing they could do outside of the building; maybe these cases need community solutions.

In another case a top student was told nothing could be done unless there was an adult witness, and there never was, so she left a school that was walking distance and transferred to one where she had to get her own transportation. Shortly thereafter the bully was caught causing another problem, and transferred to the same school. The good student returned, but was far behind because of the transfers, and very angry about the whole thing. Some kids would have dropped out rather than go through all this. Students who complain about bullying need to be taken seriously and a solution worked out that keeps them in school and safe.

Most schools now have anti-bullying programs in place, hopefully their success is being monitored, but those working on attendance issues need to investigate the role bullying plays in causing students to miss school or drop out completely.

Connie Hohlfeld Molbeck, Racine

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