The positive first step is usually talking about a problem. And that’s what’s happening in Belen as the schools, law enforcement, the courts, state legislators and the business community gathered to talk about a problem that belongs to everyone.

Truancy is of huge concern to everyone in the community. Young people who don’t get an education will wind up with major problems. They won’t have the ability to find jobs that pay enough to keep them happily and profitably engaged. They won’t become intelligent voters and leaders of our community. They won’t even have adequate parenting skills and won’t pass on that love of learning that will keep their children in school.

It’s a sorry state that we have this problem, but it’s better to face up to it and try to do something about it. The basic idea is for everyone to try to work together to find some answers. It probably wouldn’t hurt to talk to some of the young people many of them bright but disengaged from school for whatever reason who have been truant themselves.

It’s been pointed out that it takes a whole village to raise a child. Truer words have never been spoken. And now we’ve got to band together to try to think of new ways to handle this problem. The meeting was a first step.

Now let’s continue on and have a community dialogue about truancy, and then let’s put those ideas into action. If we need legislation, let’s create it. If we need police action, let’s authorize it. We can’t waste any time.

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The Valencia County News-Bulletin is a locally owned and operated community newspaper, dedicated to serving Valencia County since 1910 through the highest journalistic and professional business standards. The VCNB is published weekly on Thursdays, including holidays both in print and online.