Attendance and Truancy - House Bill 410 Information
What is Truancy Mediation?
Truancy Mediation is a process that helps parents, caregivers and schools find a fair and workable solution to children's truancy problems.
The mediation process consists of an informal meeting where people come together with a mediator to talk about the causes of truancy and how those problems can be resolved.
A mediator is a neutral person who does not take sides. The role of the mediator is to make sure that everyone has an opportunity to speak, that all sides understand each other and that both families and schools work together to resolve issues.
Because mediation is:
- Improves communication between the family and the school
- Allows the family to design its own solution to the attendance problem
- Is proven to be effective
- The truancy mediation program allows you to settle truancy problems without going to court.
How Does Mediation Work?
Parents of caregivers and teachers meet privately with the mediator. The mediator will set some basic rules and then each side will speak. Parties will be asked to listen closely to what is being said. It is important that everyone understand the issues involved and each other's points of view.
The mediator will identify and summarize the issues that are being addressed. Both sides will be allowed to conclude, and then each person will be asked to come up with possible solutions. Both sides will share their ideas to create an agreement, then all involved must commit to being responsible for making the agreement work.
Why was the Mediation Program Started?
Ohio Senate Bill 181 requires schools to take legal action for students once s/he has accumulated a specific amount of unexcused absences or tardies.
Instead of sending families to court, the State of Ohio developed the Truancy Mediation program in order to address issues of excessive absenteeism and tardiness in a timely, inclusive way. This program is a collaborative effort between the Parma City School District, Cuyahoga County, and Conflict Resolutions, Inc.
Keeping Students in School
We care about your children and we want to provide a strong education for them. In order to do that they must be in school. The Parma City School District is using a mediation program to help deal with school attendance.
As soon as a child is identified as having excessive or unexcused absences the school will notify the parent(s) / guardian(s) and request that they attend a scheduled mediation session. During the mediation parent(s) / guardian(s) will meet with a school representative/teacher and a mentor from the Conflict Resolution Center, Inc. to discuss why the child is not coming to school. The mediation is one tool that schools will use as an attempt to resolve attendance issues before the school is required, by law, to report the family to the county agency.
Mediation is an informal meeting where everyone present is asked to participate and share his or her concerns and ideas concerning the child's absence. The goal of the mediation is to find an agreeable solution between the school and the child's parent(s) / guardian(s) that will guarantee the child's regular school attendance. Mediation will take about one hour, will be confidential and will take place during school hours.
The Parma City School District is excited about this mediation program because we believe it will help children get the most out of their education and will hopefully avoid any court or Department of Family and Children's Services involvement.
If you have any questions about the truancy mediation program you may call your school or contact Conflict Resolution Center, Inc. at (440) 808-1111.
Building Assets to Improve Attendance
Search Institute has identified 40 positive experiences and qualities that all of us have the power to bring into the lives of children and youth, which are called developmental assets. Below are the 5 developmental assets which focus on a commitment to learning:
- Achievement Motivation - Young person is motivated to do well in school
- School Engagement - Young person is actively engaged in learning
- Homework - Young person reports doing at least one hour of homework every school day
- Bonding to School - Young person cares about her or his school
- Reading for Pleasure - Young person reads for pleasure three or more hours per week
Keeping Your Kids in School: Tips to Improve School Attendance
- Make your child's education a family priority.
- Tell your children how important their education is to you
- Insist that your children attend school and do their homework
- Understand your child's school attendance policy
- Make sure your children obey curfew laws and get plenty of sleep at night
- Buy your children an alarm clock
- Tell your children that you love them and give them hugs on a regular basis.
- Do not support your child's excessive absences
- If your child does not want to attend school, find out why. If there is a problem, work together to solve it
- If your child refuses to go to school, do not be afraid to ask for help. Talk to school staff to find out what resources are available
- Maintain contact and communication with your child's teachers and principal. Ask questions when uncertain
- Make sure your child arrives at school on time. Some of the most important classes happen at the beginning of the school day
- Always provide medical documentation when requested by the school
- If you change your child's school, please notify the school so that their records can be transferred to the new school