Local organization to launch program for expelled students
By LYNELLE MILLER
Pastor Dennis A. Coppock and Families Forever Ministries have stepped up to answer the cry for help from Anderson Community Schools for students who have been suspended or expelled.
Coppock has designed the Families Forever Advocacy Program to help counsel students and their parents as well as work with schools to get the child back into a learning environment more prepared to handle difficult situations.
“We have due process on how to get kids out, but this is a due process to help get them back in,” said Pastor Dennis A. Coppock, executive director and founder of Families Forever Ministries Inc. which is a not-for-profit, faith-based organization that provides everything from family and financial counseling to community outreach programs to anyone in the community.
This pilot program consists of the student attending 10 counseling sessions at no charge with Coppock or other Families Forever counselors with a minimum of five sessions to be attended with a family member, parent or guardian.
“Each session will be molded to the individual child and family,” said Coppock. “Our job is to understand the mitigating factors and where they come from such as home, school, peers and so on.”
At the conclusion of the 10 sessions, a written assessment or evaluation will be given to the school corporation along with a recommendation as to whether or not the student’s case should immediately be reviewed and the student considered for re-admittance, providing significant evidence to indicate that the student can return without future incidents, said Coppock.
“When teens get expelled and they’re upset, some don’t want to go back,” said Coppock. “We want to get them back in school.”
Unofficially, Coppock has already been counseling two to three students and their families and said he hopes to officially launch the program in the next 30 to 45 days.
“I’m very pleased with it,” said Coppock. “So far, families have been very receptive. Most like the idea of coming into a neutral area.”
The Families Forever Advocacy Program not only supports the student, but Coppock said he and the other counselors will be advocates for the family and schools as well.
“We have everybody’s best interest at heart,” said Coppock.
To get the program up and running, a cost of $750 per student has been estimated for the counseling sessions. “In order to fund the first year, we need $35,000,” said Coppock. “We’re trying to do that privately and corporately.”
With the help of Dr. Tim Long, superintendent of Anderson Community Schools Corporation, Coppock is planning to hold receptions in the near future to help raise funds for this program to launch it as soon as possible.
“Starting in April, we began reaching out to seek individuals or organizations that could lend a hand to parents seeking answers and students in need of help,” said Long. “Pastor Coppock has taken it upon himself to be one of those individuals to help in the community.”
Coppock said he is excited to begin the program and hopes it will eventually branch out to other school corporations across the county, Indiana and eventually the nation.
“(Students) have to realize they need to make the right decisions,” said Coppock. “We’re trying to give them another opportunity to go back and do better.”
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