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How to Form a "Squad" to Fight Truancy
If truancy at your school is a problem and the teachers aren't doing much, sometimes it's up to you to make a change. Forming a squad to fight truancy may sound easy at first, but it actually requires a lot of hard work and dedication. It also requires support from your teachers and peers, if they're willing to give it.
Get permission from the headteacher.Before you go chasing after truants, you need to get permission from your headteacher. This is because you will be spending a lot of time outside of your lessons and you may look like you're a truant yourself. If you feel that your headteacher isn't going to allow you to do this, consider writing a petition explaining how bad the situation is and that you'd like to do something about it. Try to get 150-250 signatures before handing it in. It would really help if you can get some teachers to sign the petition too. Here is an example of what the petition would look like:
- The below students feel that truancy is a huge problem in our school. Pro-truancy gangs are forming. This lowers the morale of the overall school. Not only do they avoid their lessons, they also hide behind buildings and smoke. This makes our school look bad and we'd like something done about it. [Names of people in the anti-truancy squad] are willing to form a squad and help to get rid of these particular students.
Find squad members.Your squad will be no good if it's just you on your own. Ask your friends if they want to join. Everybody will need to be able to work in a group and have a good reputation. Your squad should have at least 6 members but no more than 10 because when you get too many members, the squad becomes harder to control and you have to assign more roles to people. This could leave you with a bunch of useless roles. If you can't find enough people, advertise by posting in the school newspapers, sending out emails or putting up posters.
Assign roles.Below are a few roles for your groups followed by their jobs. The ones inboldare definitely needed.
- Leader. The leader organises meetings, assigns roles and fires or hires people. This is the person that everybody will report their findings to. The leader has the most power in the group and can decide what everybody does. They will also choose the routes that the patrollers will follow based on what they've reported. For this reason, the leader needs to be a fast thinker, good at making decisions and good at judging if people are good for the job or not. They also need to have good attendance records.
- Assistant leader. The assistant leader helps the leader to make decisions and takes over meetings if the leader isn't present. If there is too much work for the leader to handle, their assistant will take over. The assistant has to have the same qualities as the leader and they also need to be good at finding information to report. If the rest of the group can't find the leader, they will present their findings to the assistant leader.
- Patrolman. You will need at least three patrolmen or patrolwomen. This is the most dangerous job of all. These people walk the halls looking for truants, patrol the school grounds and report illegal groups and activities to the group leader/assistant. Because they will be out on the front line, the patrolmen/women need to be strong, a quick runner and have good communication skills. If possible, they will try to deal with the truants themselves. They should only attempt this on their own if there is no more than two truants.
- Cleaners. It's the cleaners' job to keep headquarters nice and tidy. That means making sure there's no rubbish on the floor, straightening the leader's papers and leaving the room generally clean before they lock up. The cleaner doesn't have to always turn up for meetings so anybody with bad attendance can have this role. The cleaner might be scared of the truants if they're in a lower year so this job is perfect while they get used to being in the anti-truancy gang.
Find a headquarters.This will be the place where you will work and hold meetings. The leader should be able to be found here by any other squad-mates. Any classroom will do but it needs to be spacious and have enough room for all of you to work. It will also need to fit a round table so you can all see each other in meetings. If you're allowed to keep the room, feel free to hang anti-truancy posters, invest in a drinks machine and buy a filing cabinet to keep all of your work in. In short, make yourself at home!
Hold meetings in your headquarters.The patrollers need to present what they found when they were scouting. This includes regular truants, illegal gangs and popular hideouts. They might have some CCTV footage or digital photos to show the rest of the gang. The leader and their assistant should then decide if they're going to send a large group of patrolmen to deal with the truants or report more serious gang activity to a teacher. Keep doing what you do and eventually there will be no truants left.
- If the leader of the squad is a teacher, you can have more people in the group.
- It's a good idea that patrolmen/women work in pairs or threes when dealing with gangs. If the gang is bigger, you can send up to 6 of your patrolmen to deal with them.
- Your group can also include some roles that you think of yourself. These roles may include a scout, medic or an analyst.
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