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School officials talk new plan for school truancy

Posted: 5:36 PM, Jan 10, 2019
Updated: 2019-01-11 01:24:31Z

APPLETON, Wis. — The Appleton School's Programs and Service Committee met Thursday to discuss the future of the district's truancy court.

The suspended program is under scrutiny after an independent review included allegations of bullying, making fun of students and recommendations to remove a judge from the court.

The school district says they apologize for the way they handled truancy in the past and want to move forward with a new proposal that ensures all students be treated fairly, with dignity and respect.

The school district says they plan to put together an advisory truancy task force including staff, community members, parents, experts and more. They say this task force will work to support students and their families in achieving regular attendance, as well as addressing truancy concerns.

The district is proposing to review their current staff and appoint advocates to focus on truancy issues. They also want to review procedures, to make sure they're following appropriate guidelines.

"We just realized that we have to be more consistent across the board, but certainly apologizing to families who experienced any kind of poor treatment through the process and we want to do better for our kids every day,” says Judy Baseman, the Superintendent of Appleton Area School District.

Concerns brought up at the meeting addressed how in the past, schools were too quick to cite students with truancy.

The district says their goal is to fully look at the student's life and find if there are any factors leading to truancy, such as disability, mental illness, transportation issues, problems at home or poverty.

The Appleton Area School District says they will be presenting these plans for approval at a follow-up meeting with the full board on Monday.