CHARLESTON -– The first regional meeting of the Supreme Court's project to initiate and expand truancy courts will be held at 10 a.m. Tuesday, Sept. 13, in Charleston.
The meeting will be in the ceremonial courtroom, known as Courtroom No. 4, in the Kanawha County Courthouse on Virginia Street.
"I want to invite all Kanawha County parents, educators, court officials, social service workers, and others who want to begin working together to address the problems of truancy and the growing dropout rate in our schools," said Justice Robin Jean Davis, who has been appointed by the Supreme Court to coordinate judicial truancy programs in West Virginia.
This is the first of 14 regional meetings that Davis will hold to discuss initiating and expanding judicial truancy programs. She will be accompanied at all of the meetings by Judge Alan Moats of the Nineteenth Judicial Circuit (Barbour and Taylor counties), who began an anti-truancy and dropout program in his area when he realized he was seeing many of the same people appear before him in criminal cases who had appeared before him in truancy cases. He did some research and discovered that more than 50 percent of Barbour and Taylor County students miss more than 10 days of school each year.
"The truancy habit can lead students to drop out of school before graduation. That is usually the beginning of a lifetime of trouble that can include unemployment, drug dependency, crime, and incarceration," Davis said. "Our state jails and prisons are overflowing. We can't afford to wait another minute to address this problem, or to allow another young life to be wasted."
Other regional meetings are planned for Wheeling, Morgantown, Parkersburg, Clarksburg, Elkins, Keyser, Martinsburg, Point Pleasant, Summersville, Lewisburg, Huntington, Logan and Beckley. All the meetings will be concluded before Thanksgiving.