Montgomery, AL (August 19, 2015)
The Helping Montgomery Families Initiative (HMFI) Community Report was held on Tuesday August 18 at E.D. Nixon Elementary School. HMFI is one of the programs provided by the Montgomery County District Attorney’s Office. HMFI has partnered with Montgomery Public Schools (MPS), City of Montgomery, and Montgomery County Commission to develop intervention programs for the school system. The Suspension Program and the Truancy Intervention Program are two programs in particular that are geared towards improving school attendance.
“Missing school means missing opportunities” District Attorney Daryl Bailey said as he gave the community report. He also mentioned how education is a basic need and how school attendance is the most reliable source of graduation.
One of the responsibilities of the District Attorney’s Office is to vigorously enforce school attendance laws. Parents and guardians receive attendance alert letters after the second unexcused absence and warning letters after a serious disciplinary infraction.
“The letters are highly effective” said D.A. Bailey. Over the last three years suspension rates have dropped 30% and unexcused absences dropped 24.5%.
D.A. Bailey also stated that they partner with Montgomery Public Schools to help work with family units in order to get to the root of the problem. “Helping families is the goal, not prosecution” he said as he was encouraging parents to make attendance a priority for their children. “It takes a village to raise a child” proclaimed D.A. Bailey. “This initiative is that village.”
The Montgomery County Commission conveyed their support of HMFI. “It is important to support organizations like this” said Vice Chairman and Mayoral Candidate Dan Harris. “We have to do all we can to keep kids in school.”
Montgomery Police Chief Earnest Finley briefed on his involvement with HMFI. He said that we have to make more investments in our children and go back to basics.
D.A. Bailey ended by introducing the I-L.E.A.D. Program which is an extension of HMFI. The program is designed to work with 5th graders to teach them about how their future can be affected by the choices they make today.
The Montgomery County District Attorney’s Office has been working with MPS, City of Montgomery, and Montgomery County Commission on this initiative since 2008.
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