PORTAGE | High school and middle school students who decide they don't want to come to school five times may end up with a court date.
Portage High School Assistant Principal Jennifer Sass told the school board Monday night they plan on focusing on attendance early this school year.
Students in grades six through 12 who reach their fifth non-medical absence in a single semester will be referred to the teen court program.
"They will see we mean business with attendance," said Sass, telling board members data shows students must meet a 95 percent attendance rate to be successful in school.
This is the second year for the teen court program. Last year it was held only at the high school and is being expanded into the middle schools. Students who get in trouble at school, primarily for attendance issues, but also for other infractions such as drug or alcohol use, are referred to teen court. They are judged by a jury of their peers and handed down sentences they must fulfill.
Superintendent E. Ric Frataccia said businesses in Portage and throughout Northwest Indiana are concerned with attendance and have told him it is one of the most important factors in the world beyond school.
Sass said the high school issued its all-call system Sunday night, putting out telephone calls to all student homes to inform them of the new policy.
"This will hopefully help students and parents realize that being in your seat is the most important thing they can do to learn," said Sass.
The board also approved a contract with teen court provider Crisis Center Inc. for $34,814 for the 2013/2014 school year.
In other business, the board approved applying for $741,600 in a Common School Fund loan to purchase technology. If received, the money will be used to purchase a data exchange system and to continue the grades six through 12 1:1 technology initiative.