Ketchikan High School. (KRBD file photo)

Ketchikan High School. (KRBD file photo)

During its regular Wednesday meeting, the Ketchikan School Board will hold a public hearing on a new board policy establishing programs focused on reducing child abuse and sexual assault.

The policy calls for age-appropriate information for students in all grade levels to teach about appropriate conduct, and the resources available for students.

The program also would provide information for dating-age students about healthy and respectful relationships, and the warning signs of abusive behavior. The policy also calls for training teachers to not only present the information, but to identify students who may be victims of abuse.

The policy includes an opt-out measure for parents who don’t want their children to participate in the program. The policy will be introduced on Wednesday, and if approved will come back for a second reading.

In his report to the School Board, Superintendent Robert Boyle writes that student enrollment appears to be up from the projected amount, which is good news for the district’s budget.

Boyle also writes that attendance rates were up slightly during last school year. Overall, the district had a 93.2 percent attendance rate.

Among those students who do miss school, those who are absent often are categorized as chronic or critical. Critical absences usually are the result of medical or family emergencies. Boyle writes that chronic absences, which involve missing one or two days a week regularly, often indicate family stress.

The district sends letters home when absences reach certain levels, and schedules personal meetings with parents or guardians if those absences continue. Failure to improve can lead to truancy charges filed with the court. Boyle writes that three truancy cases were filed last year.

Scheduled School Board action on tomorrow’s agenda includes accepting the resignation of Board President Michelle O’Brien; and approving a contract with Tatsuda’s IGA to provide milk for the district lunch program.

Wednesday’s School Board meeting starts at 6 p.m. in Borough Assembly chambers at the White Cliff building. Public comment will be heard at the start and end of the meeting.