- Associated Press - Friday, September 25, 2015

COLUMBUS, Neb. (AP) - Lakeview Community Schools is using a new service offered through Platte County Juvenile Services to keep students from skipping class.

Platte County Juvenile Services added the attendance monitor position last year after a local team identified truancy as a priority issue in the community. The program, which also is used by Columbus Public Schools, targets students ages 12 to 18.

District officials plan to use the resource to target Lakeview Community Schools students who are at risk of violating the state’s truancy law with 20 or more absences in a school year. Lakeview Junior/Senior High School Principal Steve Borer told the Columbus Telegram (https://bit.ly/1JtiaNt ) that the position gives the district another option in addressing an excessive amount of absences before it becomes a legal issue.

“It’s kind of that step before the county attorney,” Borer said during last week’s school board meeting.

Attendance monitor Nely Maldonado will work with district officials, students and their guardians to find solutions for attendance issues before they would face a citation.

Although only a handful of students reached the 20-absence mark each year, Borer said, he hopes the position also will lead to improved graduation rates and help truant students stay in the school district. At the very least, it will show the county district attorney that Lakeview Community Schools is making a “reasonable effort” to help students who have problems with attending school, he said.

Some members of the Lakeview school board question the decision to use the resource because they believe parents should be responsible for ensuring their children attend school.

Board President Keith Runge and board member Ryan Loseke said parents should be held accountable when their children are frequently absent and wonder whether the attendance monitor position will enable parents.

“A bunch of those people you’re not going to change. It’s a shame, but you’re not,” Runge said.


Information from: Columbus Telegram, https://www.columbustelegram.com

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