It was inspiring to read of Merced Union High School District's increased student test scores and decreased truancy and suspension rates.
As district attorney, I believe that the key to crime prevention is to keep kids in school. Studies show that students who skip school or miss school as a result of suspensions for minor nondrug and nonviolent infractions are more likely to drop out. And dropouts are eight times more likely to be sent to prison.
One in four high school students in California do not graduate on time, if at all. I am please to have joined UC Merced, the Merced County Office of Education and local leaders to create Merced County Project 10%, which places UC students in eighth-grade classrooms to discuss the importance of graduation. Our goal is to increase graduation rates by 10 percent, which research shows would decrease murders and aggravated assaults in California by 20 percent!
I applaud Superintendent Scott Scambray and the MUHSD board for their success. Their efforts serve as an example of the difference we can make if we work collaboratively to invest in the future of our kids and the safety of our community.
LARRY D. MORSE II, Merced County District Attorney