Julie Tam, NBC 5 News
North Texas' three biggest school districts went door-to-door looking for thousands of students in danger of dropping out of school
The three biggest independent school districts in North Texas are in search of thousands of students who have not come back to school this fall.
Mayors joined with school employees and volunteers in Dallas, Fort Worth and Arlington Saturday to go door to door to find those students.
More than 270 Fort Worth public school students either have not shown up or have skipped so many classes and are at risk of dropping out. About as many volunteers fanned out into neighborhoods to make home visits.
"Victor is active but he has missed a few days, and so before that gets out of control, we just want to let you know that," Donald Cole, dropout prevention coordinator for Dunbar High School, told the father of Victor Talley, who attends Dunbar. "We're here and if there's anything we can do."
Students in Texas who don't go to school by the last Friday in September are considered dropouts. And that can count against the school and the district's accountability ratings.
"Those who haven't shown up at this time, it's very important that we go out and seek them and find out what is wrong. There may conditions that they're dealing with that we're not aware of and we need to support them," said Walter Dansby, Fort Worth ISD superintendent.
"The implication is if we don't get our kids in school, crime goes up, our workforce goes down, we can't bring in new jobs and new businesses," said Fort Worth Mayor Betsy Price.
Dallas Mayor Mike Rawlings is helping Dallas ISD account for 6,000 students who have not re-enrolled in school. He sat down with one girl inside her home, and she eventually promised him she'll be back in school on Monday.
"All right, I win!" said Rawlings.
Some parents appreciate the schools' efforts. "That's touching, you know. Sometimes it takes a community to raise a child," said Talley.
"We want every student to walk across the stage to get a degree, to have some type of hope for the future," said Cole.
Arlington ISD is trying to find about 600 students who did not go back to school this year.