By Kiera Morgan:
The Lincoln County board of commissioners recently approved an agreement with Lincoln County Juvenile Department and the Lincoln County School District to place parole officers and a councilor in Lincoln County Schools. According to Lincoln County School Superintendent Dr. Karen Grey, the idea is to provide more help to students in need through collaboration with the school councilors, school resource officers and the county probation officers.
Juvenile Department Director Tony Campa told the commissioners "the best way to be successful is to include as many partnerships as possible." Superintendent Grey said they will mostly be working with Tier 3 students, these are kids that are under a greater amount of stress and duress and need more one on one attention, these students make up about 5 percent of the student population. Probation officers will be able to interact with students under court ordered formal supervision and those who need the high level of attention.
Campa said they will also be working with the families of these students. "There will be a bit of a trial period to figure out what works and what services the children and families need. Evidence based practices is the best way to go." Superintendent Grey stated that this is part of a movement being seen in schools now called restorative practices. The idea is to keep kids from being kicked out of school and to show them how their behavior affects other people and take responsibility for their actions.
Campa said once the program has been proven successful they can seek additional funding resources for the program. Dr. Grey said there is a possibility of future funding for it through grants and money coming to schools from the state student investment account. The Lincoln County Sheriff's office is also supportive of this program. Lt. Shanks commented that restorative justice programs are important to defer youth from negative behaviors such as MIP's, or smoking marijuana, that could affect a students life for years to come. "This will employ evidence based practices for youth and get kids back on track and keep them going in the right direction."