Recognize when a student needs help
Thank you for highlighting the issue of school attendance [“Attendance counts,” page one, Nov. 21].
I am a clinician with Sound Mental Health and the clients I see almost all struggle with regular attendance.
Noticing this is the first step to flagging that something more is going on with this student. Every behavior is a form of communication and schools need to recognize that a punitive response will not solve the problem.
My hope is that Seattle Public Schools uses the Diplomas Now program not just to increase attendance and graduation rates, but as a tool to connect at-risk students to necessary therapeutic services.
A student missing school, skipping classes or leaving school in the middle of the day is telling us that he or she is struggling with something. The students I work with report that attending class can seem overwhelming due to conflict at home, difficulty with peer relationships, bullying or because of mental-health struggles.
Truancy is a marker of a child’s well-being and mental health. Our job is to be more than just reactionary and instead recognize when a child needs assistance.
— Laura Philip, Seattle