Although ACES can be criticized, it is actually a benefit to Hamilton County students who fall behind in school. It places a measurable limit on how many days a child can miss school. Now when a student’s absences exceed the limit set by the school, the parents of the child will receive a letter from the prosecutor. The letter is only sent as a last resort after both the student and his parents have been warned by the school system multiple times.
The program encourages the moral behavior of students throughout the county as it sets reasonable consequences for poor attendance. In the ACES program, if a student fails to show up to school too many times, he will be faced with more serious actions than a stern lecture from the principal. In fact, the consequences can be much more intimidating than a few detentions. Often times, the most severe punishment that students can receive from too many absences is a suspension from school. This is not necessarily a well-planned punishment, seeing that those who miss excess days don’t look forward to receiving an education. To them the suspension rewards their actions by punishing them with the exact same action that led them into trouble in the first place.
Despite the criticisms, ACES needs to happen. According to an article from WTHR, criminal charges resulted in only one case. If parents are allowing their children to miss every other day of school because they have too many tests, a negative impression is left on a developing mind: it’s okay to quit trying when school gets too difficult.
What would happen when the absentee student attained his first job? If he thought a project was too boring, would he just stop working and negatively impact everyone else in the company? The answer is yes, but those are reversible with programs like ACES.
There are obvious benefits to the majority of students as well. With programs like ACES, the small percentage of kids that regularly miss school will hopefully attend more. More students in class leads to more active classroom discussions, which can only aid the educational process.
In the end, there are other options if families view the use of this program as too extreme. Homeschooling or nontraditional schools, such as Options Charter School, are possibilities. More importantly, ACES could force families to examine the real reasons behind the excessive absenteeism.
ACES is an overwhelmingly positive attribute to the school system in Hamilton County. In a way, it forces students who slack on their attendance to come to school and join their peers. It looks out for students and creates a threatening consequence for their actions, which an individual school may not be capable of doing alone.
Bad idea // James Benedict
This is an obvious but often forgotten fact: school is for learning. School should be a place where students are encouraged to come and learn. Whether it is how to fix a car or how to calculate an integral, school should focus on knowledge, not punishment. This is why ACES is, to be frank, a god-awful idea.
The bill was purposed in all good intentions. Absence is a problem, but threatening students with criminal charges is not the answer. If anything, it will further draw students away from school, which in turn will increase the problem.
Instead we need to ask why students are missing so much school. Sure, a percentage skip and miss because they’re lazy, but students also miss because of sickness, stress and feeling as if school is a waste of their time. If we address these issues, not only will truancy decline, but also student involvement will increase.
Threats only further divide the school district from the students. Policies must be set in place to work with the student towards their end goal: their education. If a chronically ill student misses too much school, teachers and administrators should work out a time-table and strategy to get the student back on level with his or her peers, not threaten criminal suit. The same logic can be applied to any cause of absences, even when students simply skip to skip.
Yes, students skipping class for no legitimate reason is a problem. It is stupid and irresponsible. However at the end of the day, if you press criminal charges, all you are doing is worsening a bad situation. The goal of school should be to give every student an opportunity to improve their life, not mark them with a criminal record.
On top of the moral reasons to stop ACES, the school just shouldn’t have the right to threaten prosecution. If a student breaks a law, they should be punished, but they should be punished by the police, not the school. The reason we have separate sections of government is because each section serves a specific role. Just as schools aren’t responsible if a student’s house catches fire, schools aren’t responsible for a student’s criminal actions.
Not only is ACES a breach of separation of powers, it is unnecessary and detrimental. The ultimate goal of schools should remain in educating and improving students. Work with students towards that goal, whether it is creating specialized programs for over-stressed students or showing often-truant students the negative consequences of their actions. The school district should reach out and connect with their students, not arrest them. At the end of the day, we can’t forget the role of school: education. This bill is a reaction to a very real and very serious problem. Open student’s minds; don’t lock them behind bars.