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September is Attendance Awareness month for children in school. The “Strive For Less Than 5” campaign has combined the Warren County United Way, Knox County United Way, Bridgeway, and the Regional Office of Education to aid in getting the number of students missing school down.
All of these programs have seen many different reasons as to why children are missing school. Vicki Rose, Director of Outpatient and Support Services at Bridgeway, discusses the emotional and social challenges many children face that can lead to that child missing school:
“I think it’s just really important that school personal and even secretaries, the janitors, and the bus drivers, everybody’s kind of looking out for the well-being of the children and noticing and reporting some differences in a child that they may be struggling. Really we have to take that whole person approach and look at this as these kids are our next generation. So as a community we need to come together and support them and be willing to be flexible in what their needs are in terms of education and social, emotional needs,” reports Rose.
Other reasons a child may be missing school are transportation or family situations and even lack of communication. Laun Dunn, of Knox County United Way, shares more on how community involvement has grown since the launch of the program:
“It has really started a community conversation. People tended previously to kind of right off truancy as ditching school. If we can kind of get our arms around these kids as a community and start to create some positive interaction with peers and with school teachers, faculty, and staff. It can really do a lot to break down those preconceived notions as well as breaking down the isolations that some of these kids are going through,” Dunn states.
For more information, log onto unitedway-knoxcounty.org or warrencountyunitedway.com.
written by Kelsey Crain
To hear the full interview, listen to the link below: