Greater Clark County Schools developing stricter truancy policies
Greater Clark County Schools is getting strict on students who cut class.
The district has a new truancy task force, and habitual offenders could lose their driver's license or even their job.
"We will do what is legal and ethical to get people's attention to make sure students are in school," Superintendent Dr. Andrew Melin said.
Melin said the district created a truancy task force made up of school leaders, probation officers and the prosecutor's office.
"We understand things happen in families. Kids get sick and families get sick," he said. "We understand, and we want to be compassionate. But those are not the situations we're talking about."
Melin said some students miss a day of school on a regular basis.
"Our parents can make a phone call and just say, 'My child is sick today,'" Melin said. "When that keeps happening over long periods of time, then how are we going to hold those few parents accountable?"
After summer break, those parents who allow more than five absences will have to meet face-to-face with school leaders. If absences continue, probation officers will get involved.
"The effort of juvenile probation is rehabilitation and success. It's not punishment," said Henry Ford, who oversees juvenile probation in Clark County. "This is a tremendous effort at avoiding kids in trouble."
Previously, parents received a letter when a student missed five days of school and another letter after missing 10 days. But Melin said those letters weren't cutting it, so the district will develop a new policy to increase parent involvement.
"If (the school district) tried to intervene, and we've tried to show support, and it's not working, then there has to be a level of consequence," Melin said.
It's a major push even though the district's attendance rate hovers over 94 percent.
"We're worried about that other 5-to-6 percent of students, because it's our job to educate all students," Melin said. "It's our job to make sure all students are successful."
The changes are set to take place at the start of the school year when the district plans to add students and parents to its task force.
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