COLDWATER, MI (WTVB) - Branch County Probate Court Judge Kirk Kashian says his court has started a truancy program. Kashian, who is wrapping up his first year on the bench, says they’re trying to focus on what they consider children who have chronic absences or keep missing classes. He reminded the Coldwater Noon Rotary Club yesterday during his visit that there is a strong correlation, an indication that those kids that don’t attend school are more likely to end up in courts like his or elsewhere in the criminal justice system.
Kashian said that he recently attended a special seminar and was joined there by the Branch Intermediate School District Superintendent, a middle school principal, a Department of Human Services representative and someone from the Prosecutor’s Office. The seminar detailed the concept of school truancy and what they call the pipeline to prison. Statistics have shown that more than 80% of those in prison are high school dropouts and how important it is to increase the graduation rate.
Kashian says his office will look at truancy situations where the student could be as young as a kindergartner, where the focus will be on the parental responsibilities while as the child grows older and for example moves into the middle school grades, the education accountability shifts more to the students themselves.