Saturday, March 13, 2010

What happens next?

Last week in Woodstock's Administrative Adjudication Court Judge Eterno listened at several different times to parts of a case against a parent whose high school child was truant from Woodstock High School.

How did she happen to be charged? Because her kid was absent at least 29 days from school?

The mother wasn't in court, because an injury from a fall on the previous day prevented her appearance; but her husband was there.

Judge Eterno was very careful, as he tried to ascertain whether the husband was able to stand in for his wife. At one point, Judge Eterno told the man to call his wife and determine the extent to which he was to stand in her place that day.

When the case was called again, it appeared that the man intended to plead that his wife was "liable", and Judge Eterno tried to confirm that his wife understood the ramifications of such a plea. It appeared the judge had serious reservations about accepting the plea from the husband, so he continued the case for a month. Several times Judge Eterno expressed great concern that the boy would be truant many more days.

Since the address from which the kid was truant was 112 Grove Street, Woodstock, I realized the kid is a student at the Clay Street Academy. The "Academy" is a District 200 school in Woodstock for students who qualify for placement in a non-resident therapeutic day school because of neurological disabilities or other special needs.

Unless things have changed in District 200 over the past 5-8 years, little collaboration is done by the entire education system to help parents who struggle with educational and attendance problems of their kids. Parents (and students) are too often just at the "effect" of the system, when a meaningful collaborative effort might result in a much better result for all - for the student, for the parents, for the teachers and staff.

What does a parent do who cannot control her child? Why is the student truant? Has the school determined the reasons for the truancy? I mean, the real reasons...

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