Wednesday, July 23, 2008

When The Kids Aren't At School

Lawrence Township Trustee Mike Hobbs works as a volunteer at John Marshall Community High School. When attendance numbers hovered around 50% recently, Hobbs decided something needed to be done to incentivize parents to make sure their kids are in school. He and John Marshall principal, Jeff White, came up with a plan. Any parent with a case pending in Hobbs' office for rent, utility, food or other emergency assistance will see their case held up if their children are enrolled at John Marshall but they aren't attending classes. This will provide a little extra incentive to the parents to be responsible in ensuring their kids are in school. And if they're in class instead of on the streets, there is less chance they will be getting into trouble. What do you think?

10 comments:

Vox Populi said...

I think it's a good idea, and perhaps should be enforced at the Lawrence Townships schools as well.

Jon E. Easter said...

Accountability is always good. I will say that more times than I can count over the last 12 years, I have called home to talk attendance with a parent and he or she wasn't aware that the child was missing my class. There are so many parents that work odd hours these days.

Many are asleep or at work when the child goes or does not go to school. As I read it here, this program will at least make parents aware of the situation and carry some consequence until it changes.

Concerned Taxpayer said...

From another blogsite:

“Lawrence Township Trustee Mike Hobbes is announcing today that his office will withhold poor relief for any family whose children have not attended school. I like the idea, why should the taxpayers fork over their hard earned money so a bunch of people can sit around and watch television all day?”

Meanwhile, in Wayne Township, trustee David King Baird has hired his girlfriend to go to schools and try to give away $100,000 of “school uniforms.”

He even advertises in the local papers for people to come to his office and get their “free” money and benefits.

indyernie said...

I think its a great idea.
Carl Drummer are you reading this?

Shofar said...

While I applaud Hobbs' initiative, and willingness to think outside the "box" as it were, I think that he and Mr. White will end up being slapped in the face by our friends at ACLU-IN.

My reason for saying this is that, while a good portion on students attending John Marshall live in Lawrence Township, the school is in fact IPS. Add to that mix the fact that the majority of students attending JM are black, whereas the majority of Lawrence Township is white, and you have a mix made in lawsuit heaven.

The argument can go that the Trustee has no jurisdictional authority over the school (he doesn't) and the fact that he is "picking on" black families (the demographics) would demonstrate a lack of compassion for these black families, and a desire to keep them from benefits they maybe entitled to. If Hobbs were to make this applicable to all schools within Lawrence Township, and not single out a school that is primarily black, then he might be able to defend his decision. Otherwise, I think the Township is going to have to spend it resources defending itself.

Gary, your an attorney, what's your opinion?

Advance Indiana said...

Shofar, That was the first thing I told Mike when he told me about the program. "You'll probably get sued by the ACLU," I said. If you look at the federal welfare to work laws now, they have a lot of strings attached which can be used to deny services. As long as Hobbs can show that the decision is not arbitrary and has a rational relationship to the benefit's purpose, he should be able to get around it.

Ed Angleton said...

This ia an idea whose time has come. It needs to be expanded beyond the township level to the entire state. Any parent or guardian receiving public assistance of any sort with a school age child that is not attending school at least 80% (?) of scheduled class time would see benefits begin to be reduced. If done state-wide in every school district there is no case for a claim of discrimination.

Aryq46254 said...

Love the idea. Love it. There needs to be a lot more strings attached to all this "free" government money we had out. You need it? Fine, we'll give it to you, but you gotta do something for it. This is a good start. :) ~~Aryq~~

artfuggins said...

First of all, IPS is in all townships except 2.....secondly how did race get injected into this I am sure that white and hispanic parents receiving aid will receive the same treatment...Blacks are not being singled out....John Marshall is located in Warren Township even though many of the students come from Lawrence I think Hobbs and White have hit upon a piece of the puzzle to improve school attendance

Money77guy said...

Hold the parents responsible for the kids! TREMENDOUS! My dad would be laughing this is how he was raised and he knows no other way to raise kids! Of course he's only 86 young.