Washington County School District Revises Attendance Policy

By: Muriel Bailey Email
By: Muriel Bailey Email

Classes are empty at Vernon High School but principal Brian Riviere doesn't want that to be the case when the school year begins.

"The only way we can achieve what we need to achieve at this high school and make every single student as good as they can be is to have them in front of our teachers," said Riviere.

To assure that, monday, Washington County school board members adopted a revised attendance policy.

If a student logs 5 or more unexcused absences within a month or 10 unexcused absences in a 90 day period they'll be referred to the child study team to determine if early patterns of truancy are developing.

The next step is truancy court.
And that's when parents come into play.
They too can be sanctioned under state law and can be ordered to complete a training program or even attend school with their child.

"That may be something that could help the family understand the importance of having their student here," explained Riviere.

There are more consequences if that doesn't work.

"If a student is under 18, explained Riviere, the judge can also suspend the drivers license until they show 45 days of consecutive attendance."

That also includes not issuing a license or permit.

This new policy does pertain to all students in the district, that
Includes elementary middle and high school students.

The district is also changing how many points a student loses.

"On the students 4th absence in nine weeks the student's nine week grade will be dropped one letter grade which is equivalent to 10 points."

Previously the students grade was automatically dropped to an "F."

'We felt that that was damaging in a high school atmosphere and make them even more so want to quit and drop out."

Riviere says he sees all of this as a means to prevention not a damaging measure.

Teachers are also held liable for keeping accurate records of attendance.
School starts in Washington County Monday, August 20th.

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