COVINGTON, Ind. — Covington School Board members learned more Monday about the Fountain County Attendance Initiative.
Adam Welchans, High school principal, said the idea for an attendance mediation board has been in the works for about a year. The initiative will partner the local school corporations — Covington, Attica and Fountain Central — together with the Fountain County Circuit Court in an effort to get frequently absent students to school regularly.
“It will be a work in progress”, said Welchans, who has already seen the benefits of a similar program already in place in Tippecanoe County.
Stephanie Campbell, magistrate of the Fountain County small claims circuit court, explained the local school corporations have no real truancy policy so a student with a poor attendance record can leave one school corporation and go to another with a clean attendance record at the new school.
School corporations in the initiative each will have a representative on the mediation board. Campbell will serve as mediator for the board and will sit down with students and their parents to figure out why they are regularly absent and to inform them of the benefits of coming to and staying in school. After the problem has been resolved, students and their parents will enter into a contract with the attendance initiative for a semester. If the student continues to miss school during their contract, then their case will be given over to the court system.
Campbell said the Attendance Initiative will be a “collective effort and will be a positive thing for everyone.”
Welchans added the hope is that the program will break the cycle in some families of kids not coming to school. Superintendent Kirk Booe said that “97 percent of the student population attends school regularly and it is really a small percentage of students that are habitual truants.”