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Policy on truancy is changed

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Next school year, Richmond County students will face a new attendance protocol that will seek to solve problems with unexcused absences.

Topic: Richmond County Schools
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"It's going to be a lot better. We're going to try to intervene on some things," said school board President Marion Barnes.

The policy, which has been in the works since a subcommittee was assigned in November 2008 to rewrite the school system's protocol, was approved at the school board's most recent meeting. The subcommittee was made up of several area officials, including those from the school system, the state Department of Juvenile Justice and the Health Department.

The policy calls for teachers and administrators "to monitor attendance and to intervene, as appropriate to encourage attendance, notify parents of attendance issues, have social workers organize home visits and conduct attendance meetings with parents through the school's attendance review panel."

The goal is to address problems before cases are referred to the Department of Juvenile Justice.

"The courts are piling up," said Barnes, noting that the new procedure should reduce that case load and get to the heart of truancy problems quicker.

A student is considered truant if he or she has more than five days of unexcused absences.

Excused absences include personal illness, a family death or funeral, medical or dental appointments, special and recognized religious holidays observed by the student's faith, an order by a government agency or "extreme circumstances that cannot be resolved outside school hours," the policy states.

Officials have said truancy numbers have improved, but in past years as many as 1,000 students have been referred to court for truancy. The cause of the problem would then be addressed and officials would be ordered to work with the student and his or her family.

Juvenile Court Judge Ben Allen, who is assigned to truancy court, has said he doesn't believe it makes sense to bring students who missed days directly into court. He said an effort should be made beforehand to find out what the problem is, noting that in some cases it could be a health issue or a problem at home.

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johnston.cliff
2
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johnston.cliff 05/28/10 - 06:05 am
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"It's going to be a lot

"It's going to be a lot better. We're going to try to intervene on some things,"
Government schools have completely lost their way as far as their goal of informing the youth of Americans goes. Transferring knowledge of reading, math, the sciences, history and civics, music, and providing competitive sports opportunities has very little to do with providing meals at least twice a day, providing a baby sitting service, and in general replacing parents, all in the name of education. These actions, plus the markedly liberal agenda taught by government schools, seems to aim toward a tended and indoctrinated populace instead of an informed and empowered populace. A new way to enforce attendance sure seems more than just a little ridiculous in an attempt to help a system with so many root problems.

the kid
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the kid 05/28/10 - 06:41 am
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why do they think the

why do they think the students give a crap, or the parents. oh its the teachers fault.

lifelongresidient
0
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lifelongresidient 05/28/10 - 07:35 am
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johnson/the kid, i agree 100%

johnson/the kid, i agree 100% the inept, moronic and myopic school board thinks the solution to all of the scool district ills or problems are more programs or throw more money at it. all the while sticking or keeping their collective heads in the sand regarding the real issue and that is PARENTAL INVOLEMENT!!!! early intervention, late intervention medium intervention, mentoring programs, these or any other "hair-brained programs the school board can or will come up with will not succeed because they fail or REFUSE to address the problem head on by including parental involvement. this school board feels it can be everything to every family, it can their only job is to insure a quality education can be supplied, not being the parent, social worker, baby-sitter or soup kitchen. thank goodness the school districtrict mill rate is near the cap so in future years they will not be able to gut the poor homeowner to pay for more idiotic programs costing tens of thousands of dollars for a segment of the student population that have little if any motivation or inclination to learn in the first place

john
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john 05/28/10 - 08:32 am
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excused absences should

excused absences should include when the parent tells the school that they will not be there. When I went to school, as long as my parents informed the school that I would be out for whatever reason they deemed, it was cool. I understand that this is not the case anymore, and as a parent with children approaching school age, this ticks me off. If I want to keep my kid home or take them somewhere on a school day, I should have that right as a parent in my humble opinion.

Little Lamb
40206
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Little Lamb 05/28/10 - 08:55 am
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Of course truancy issues

Of course truancy issues should be kept out of the courts. The courts have more important things to do. But it is ludicrous to set up these bureaucratic rules and policies involving everyone from social workers to janitors just because some students miss school. Here is Little Lamb's truancy policy:

Richmond County taxpayers are scrimping and scraping and doing without in order to provide you a “free” education. If you do not wish to avail yourself of said education, don't bother darkening the school's doorway; and we will not come looking for you.

lifelongresidient
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lifelongresidient 05/28/10 - 10:54 am
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little lamb you are right-i

little lamb you are right-i feel those who don't want an education or are going to school for reasons other than getting an education they should be expelled and sent back to thier sorry parent(s) schools are not meant to baby sit, feed, clothe, counsel, soothe or offer a place to sleep they are meant to educate giving it's students skills necessary to succeed in life, anything other is just a waste of precious time and money

corgimom
19339
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corgimom 05/28/10 - 11:20 am
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Here's what would happen if a

Here's what would happen if a teacher called a social worker to report a truant child-

"Is the child in physical danger? Do you see marks or bruising? Has the child told you about being abused?"

"No, he's just missing a lot of school."

*click* MMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMM (dial tone)

butler123
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butler123 05/28/10 - 11:35 am
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This article doesn't say, but

This article doesn't say, but in Arkansas the parent gets in trouble if the child is truant. If it isn't that way here they should look into that as well.

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