By Ben Fractenberg
MANHATTAN—Talk about bad timing.
Mayor Bloomberg announced a new campaign to fight truancy – just as 1,000 high school kids walked out of 23 city schools to protest plans to eliminate free MetroCards for students.
"Truancy is often a child's first step in the wrong direction," said Mayor Bloomberg in a press release distributed just hours before Friday’s walk-out.
"Chronic absenteeism leads to higher rates of school failure, delinquency, and dropping out. From there, it is often hard to recover."
The mayor’s office said he was setting up a task force which will use data to alert parents about absences, develop protocol for working with chronic skippers and work with community-based organizations.
“Truancy and chronic absenteeism is a public safety issue," said Police Commissioner Raymond Kelly in the release.
"When children and teens are truant during school hours, they are more likely to be the victims of and commit crimes.”
The students walked out of class and gathered in City Hall Park to protest the MTA’s cuts.