The Cerro Gordo County Attorney’s office, a prosecutor’s office in northern Iowa, is working with a local school district to deal with issues of truancy. The anti-truancy program launched nearly a year ago and is supposed to help Mason City Schools deal with student absentee problems.
According to District Official Jadie Meyer, speaking to the Mason City Globe Gazette about the program, it aims to work with students, parents, and school officials, and ensure children are in school when they are supposed to be.
Said Meyer, "The intent is to be proactive and have early communication with the family. We want to get all players together so we can all play a part. "
So far, nine students and their families have participated in the program, but this is just a small portion of the number of student’s truant in the district. Even with the program, many schools in the area continue to handle the problem internally.
The county attorney’s office believes, though, that truancy is more than just a school issue. Children who are not in an organized, supervised environment often make poor choices and truancy can lead to trouble in the community.
The goal of the program is to determine what support students need. Mediation brings all of the parties involved together to discuss the issues and determine if more school, parent, or mental health support, or a combination of these things are needed to ensure a child is in school at the appropriate time. The judge overseeing the program helps parties work out solutions and prepare written mediation agreements that everyone finds satisfactory.