The Buena Vista County Attorney’s Office is expanding its efforts to combat ongoing truancy issues.
During the previous school year, the office partnered with the Storm Lake Elementary School to educate parents and students on the importance of attending school. The initial program identified over 30 families who missed more than 25 days of school. There was 100-percent participation among families who received notice of mediation. The mediation was facilitated by former Juvenile Judge and current BVU professor Mary Timko, who worked with families and Elementary School representatives to identify barriers to the school’s prior attempts to prevent the child from being absent. A news release from the BV Attorney’s Office says feedback was positive from those who attended, and nearly every student attended the remaining school days following mediation.
The program has since expanded to the Storm Lake Middle School. The mediation standard was changed from a set number of missed days to a percentage of school days missed. A family will be referred to mediation if a child has missed 20-percent of school days. The first middle school mediation was held on Wednesday of this week. Nearly 20 families were identified, and there was 100-percent participation from the families that received a mediation notice.
Truancy mediations will continue to be held as they are needed this school year. The BV Attorney’s Office looks forward to establishing programs with other school districts in the county as well.