Huntsville City Schools launches new truancy task force

Huntsville City Schools launches new truancy task force.

Dr. Cary Grant, the Director of Student Welfare for Huntsville City Schools, said each school will have a team comprised of a social worker, counselor, assistant principal and others who will address truancy issues.

Posted: Aug 1, 2018 5:36 PM

Huntsville City Schools is launching a new plan to fight truancy issues throughout its schools. In the past, only three school resource officers dealt with all truancy issues for the whole district -- now each school will be able to track absences using their own staff.

WAAY 31 learned more about how the new program will work and what parents think of it.

"I think it's wonderful. It's awesome and I think it will benefit everyone," said Marvin Gibson.

Gibson has two kids that attend Huntsville City Schools. He said while he's not worried about his young children missing school, he knows many other kids miss out on an education for one reason or another.

"Dealing with bullying at school or not having enough encouragement or maybe not having the right people to encourage them in their lives," said Gibson.

Dr. Cary Grant, the Director of Student Welfare for Huntsville City Schools, said each school will have a team comprised of a social worker, counselor, assistant principal and others who will address truancy issues.

"The teacher will contact the parent, a robo call will go out, he parent will receive a notice," said Grant.

That's after just the first time a student is absent. after three times, another attempt will be made to contact the parent and another notice will be sent out. If all of that fails, the family will receive a home visit.

"It helps the children and most importantly the parents to be able to support that child," said Gibson.

The team will work together with the family to determine why the student is not at school and find ways to help correct the problem. Grant said, he is hopeful the program will be successful. "I'm hoping what the message would be that I've learned something based on being in school all day."

The school system is reminding parents that if their child misses school they need to bring a note -- either from the parent or a doctor --that way the student won't be considered truant. 

Grant said truancy is an issue for schools across the country -- not just Huntsville -- and it can have a negative impact on the schools testing scores.

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