Last week, Senator Bob Williams announced the State Senate’s adoption of Senate Resolution 17, regarding the reduction of truancy in schools, and praised Taylor County for being a pioneer in the approach.
“I was proud to vote for this resolution outlining the great work being done in Taylor County to reduce truancy,” Williams said.
The resolution strongly encourages judicial circuits and county boards of education to implement this new approach developed in Taylor and Nicholas Counties. The extensive plan seeks to include the participation and cooperation of the students, parents, school personnel, administration and even juvenile probation officers.
This new program enforces the responsibility of parents to ensure their children’s attendance using the child abuse and neglect laws. A juvenile probation officer is working with school personnel to enforce the improvement plan including looking at the student’s home environment, school attendance and grades. The probation officer would also monitor the frequency of medical excuses, even checking with doctors and subpoenaing them to attend hearings.
Williams said truancy is interfering with the educational process and a serious improvement plan, such as Senate Resolution 17, is needed to address the issue.
“Truancy is a significant problem throughout West Virginia,” Williams said. “We talk a lot about the student body being in school 180 instructional days, but students being habitually absent is also a real problem.”
Williams hopes other counties can follow the lead of the work of Taylor County in addressing the issue head-on.
“I congratulate Superintendent Diane Watt and her staff, along with Prosecutor John Bord and Judge Alan Motts for this progressive approach to solving this serious problem,” Williams said.