In 2017, the Lewiston School District and the Nez Perce County Prosecutor’s Office worked to create an “Attendance Court” that focuses on addressing the underlying problems of student attendance. While most students attend class regularly, there are several students in our community that struggle to attend for a variety of reasons.
“Attendance Court brings resources to the table to help students get to school. We focus on the ‘why’ does the student miss class rather than ‘when’,” said Prosecutor Justin Coleman.
The Attendance Court is overseen and coordinated by a deputy prosecutor and prosecutor legal assistant. The team is comprised of hearing officers, juvenile probation, a resource officer, director of students, and the assistant principal of the school where the student attends. This year Budd Hurd and Susan Scully have agreed to preside as the court’s hearing officers. So far, there has been 93 cases through the program with a recidivism rate of less than 5%.
On Monday September 12, the Nez Perce County Commissioners and the Lewiston School District issued a proclamation supporting the program, and recognizing national attendance month. Both entities further committed to focus on reducing chronic absenteeism in order to give all children an equitable opportunity to learn, grow and thrive academically, emotionally and socially.