New Program Trying to Keep Kids in Classroom

GALLIPOLIS, Ohio (WSAZ) -- How do you get kids who miss way too much school to take their education more seriously?

One school district believes they may have found an answer.

A new truancy program was implemented in the beginning of April at Gallia Academy Middle School for students who've had at least 12 unexcused absences.

Anita Moore is a juvenile court diversion officer.

"The problem is we were doing the same thing over and over again with truancy," Moore said. “It kept being the same families over and over and over, every year."

So Moore started a nine-week program as an alternative to probation. Kids and their parents stay after school every Tuesday and have discussions on a variety of topics, with the main goal being to get these families to embrace the value of being responsible.

Michelle Watson says she already sees a huge difference with her son Harley.

"Since this program started Harley has not missed one day of school," Watson said.

In less than a month, she says his grades have gone from D's and F's to A's and B's.

"I'm not as lazy when it comes to doing my work anymore,” Harley said. “I’m wanting to do my work, wanting to get up and come to school."

If this program is successful at Gallia Academy Middle, Moore says it will be implemented at every school in Gallia County.

She says the program doesn’t cost any additional money because it’s done by volunteers.

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