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**FILE** D.C. Attorney General Karl Racine (Roy Lewis/The Washington Informer)

D.C. Attorney General Karl A. Racine announced that starting Monday, his office will expand its anti-truancy program to Simon Elementary School and John Hayden Johnson Middle School in Ward 8.

The Addressing Truancy Through Engagement and Negotiated Dialogue program serves as a diversion program designed to better assist families with young children who are going to school regularly. The goal of the program is to deal with the underlying problems of truancy and prevent criminal prosecution of parents.

ATTEND already operates in four schools — Turner, Patterson and Malcolm X elementary schools in Ward 8 and Sousa Middle School in Ward 7 — and has helped over 230 city children and families improve school attendance, according to a department news release.

“Children have a better chance of success when they attend school,” Racine said. “That’s why the OAG is committed to helping shrink truancy rates in the District and ensuring that every child gets the education they need and deserve. Our office’s innovative ATTEND program has successfully fostered an environment that supports students, parents, and schools, and I’m incredibly excited to see the program expanding to two schools that most need this help.”

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