HAMILTON TOWNSHIP, N.J. (CBS) — A new initiative aimed at rewarding perfect attendance at school is facing backlash from parents in Mercer County. For the last 18 months, the Hamilton Township School District has been trying to find new ways to improve student attendance.
But a recent perfect attendance dance party at Yardville Elementary School got a failing mark from some parents.
It’s the time of the year when the flu and other illnesses force more kids than usual to miss school.
Last week, when some parents at Yardville learned their kids couldn’t go to a dance if they did not have perfect attendance last month, they were not perfectly pleased.
“We were upset, especially for the younger kids. They don’t understand,” parent Taylor Bjorklund said.
“I mean, they can’t come to school, it’s not fair. And you don’t know when they get sick,” parent Nazish Ahmad said.
The new Atten-Dance Party, as they called it, was to happen monthly as an incentive not to miss school.
“I think it will encourage attendance for maybe those who don’t go to school for no reason,” parent Paul Grant said.
The end results in some cases were kids watching their peers leave class to go have fun while they felt left out for doing nothing wrong.
“Well my daughter didn’t go — she was absent. So seeing her upset obviously stinks but I do get what they’re saying because I’ve done things in my own classroom where I’m like, ‘Oh, that’s a great idea,’ and then you realize maybe it wasn’t,” parent Larissa McElrath said.
By this past Friday, the district emailed parents, saying future Atten-Dances were canceled.
In response to CBS3’s request for an explanation about the unpopular proposal, Superintended Scott Rocco referred us to a public letter last week that said, in part, “We want our parents and community as our partners in this initiative. Together we can build a system where students are in school and engaged in learning. As we work on this initiative we will take into account concerns and feedback expressed over how certain activities are received.”
A lot of parents are now wondering what’s next. A school board meeting is scheduled for later this month.