In 2000, a truancy intervention program was established by the Ventura County District Attorney's Office to work closely with most of the school districts in Ventura County, Probation, law enforcement agencies, Behavioral and Public Health, Interface and other community based organizations in Ventura County. It is designed to maximize school attendance, performance and eventual graduation from high school. A Deputy District Attorney participates in a weekly, bi-weekly or monthly Student Attendance Review Board (SARB) meetings with participating school districts to address on-going truancy problems.
Based on their attendance, students are referred to their local SARB for a meeting. The parent(s)/guardian(s) and student are required to attend this SARB meeting. At this meeting, the attendance history is discussed as well as any problems or concerns the parent may have that contributes to the student's lack of attendance. SARB and the parent(s)/guardian try to reach a mutually acceptable agreement regarding the student's attendance issues. The student may be referred to school based programs such as tutoring, "Saturday school", clean up duty with the janitor, etc. The family may also be referred to the local community based or publicly funded organization during this meeting. At the end of the SARB meeting, an attendance contract is signed by the parent(s), student and SARB members listing the requirements SARB has set forth.
As attendance improves the likelihood of crime decreases. The threat of consequences increases participating incentive to reduce truancy and delinquency. The possibility of a sanction also increases the effectiveness of restorative solutions, which strive to identify and remove barriers to student participating and academic success.
One of the biggest problems has been holding truants accountable for their attendance. If the student continues to be truant and ignores the directives of SARB, the student and/or parent/guardian can be cited by the local law enforcement agency for violating the Education Code. If a ticket is issued, the student and/or parent is required to come to court. If found guilty, the student is required to pay a fine or complete community service hours. If found guilty, parents are required to pay a fine. The amount of the fine increases with each consecutive citation.