The Joplin Globe, Joplin, MO

August 13, 2009

<img src="" border=0> Southwest Missouri school districts discuss dropout rates

In a show of solidarity, the school districts of Joplin, Webb City, Carl Junction and Carthage held a press conference this morning to send out the message “Graduation Matters.”

During the press conference held today at the Southwest Center for Educational Excellence in Webb City, Joplin Superintendent C.J. Huff said the districts don’t yet have a specific collaborative plan to address the rate of students dropping out of high school, but he said the districts would continue working together on a possible regional strategy.

The “Graduation Matters” slogan was created during a state-wide dropout prevention summit the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education held in April.

Dean Dankelson, Jasper County prosecuting attorney, was also present at the press conference, and pledged his office’s support in enforcing the newly raised dropout age of 17-years-old and state’s mandatory attendance law.

“Our goal is not to put parents in jail,” Dankelson said. “We will send a letter to them let them know the issue and that they have a duty to get their kids to school.”

Dankelson said parents who refuse to follow the school attendance law can be charged with a misdemeanor.