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Lakeland Union High School Battles TruancySubmitted: 05/06/2013
Story By Kailey Burton


MINOCQUA - Lakeland Union High School offers amenities many larger districts don't have. The school's hard work and investment in their students is paying off in better graduation rates and grades, but one sore spot on their report card is truancy.

Last school year, one in three students was truant habitually. That number is unacceptable to Lakeland Principal Jim Bouché

"This is like a job. Being in high school, being in school is a person's job. And it prepares them for their later life, moving into the true real world situations… And when it comes to being on time, it's very important. Tardy or 'unexcused' is not something that's acceptable in the workforce," says Bouché.

Despite truancy Lakeland Union improved its failure rate- that's the number of classes failed- by 20 percent last semester.

The district has invested heavily in technology, and the goal of giving Lakeland students a competitive education compared to big cities.

One new concept, called "study labs" for different subjects, makes it impossible for kids to slip through the cracks.

"We don't call them 'study halls'," says Bouché, "We're working with our students with teachers in all of these labs. They're not hall monitors, or study hall monitors. They're being worked with, one-on-one in many cases, with teachers that are assigned to those different areas... Failure is not an option."

In the last 4 years Lakeland dropped their failure rate from 7.3% to 2.5% and improved their graduation rate from 83% to 95%.

Principal Bouche says their new plan for truancy involves working with the courts, parents and elementary schools to reestablish how important it is to show up for school.


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They help us recover if we're sick, cope if we have a chronic condition and help manage pain.

But those drugs can expire or just stay in the back of our medicine cabinets for months or years.

And if those drugs get into the wrong hands—such as toddlers or abusers—that's a problem.

That's why many local police and sheriff's departments participate in the National Prescription Drug Take-Back program.

It's run by the Drug Enforcement Administration, and Saturday was National Take-Back Day.

"We're keeping the controlled substances in the hands they're supposed to be in, especially with the pill epidemic now, it's important that these stay out of the hands of people that are abusing them," said Minocqua Police Officer Matthew Tate. 

Several area police departments hosted drop-offs Saturday. 

You can drop off prescription or over-the-counter pills, ointments, patches, non-aerosol sprays, vials and pet medications. You cannot bring in inhalers or aerosol cans, and you cannot drop off illegal drugs or needles.

All the drugs are brought to the state Department of Justice where they will be incinerated.

That's better than just flushing them or throwing them out in the trash.

"It's very important that it's not getting into our ground water is the main thing," Tate said. "We just don't want people dumping them in toilets or in their garbage."

If you have prescription drugs you want to get rid of safely, don't worry if you missed Saturday's opportunity. Many area police stations have drug drop-off bins in their lobbies, so you can drop them off any time of the year.


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MINOCQUA - You know summer in the Northwoods will soon be here when seasonal businesses start opening up again.

Wildwood Wildlife Park opened up Saturday in Minocqua.

Hundreds of people rushed to the gate today to see all different types of animals, some local and some exotic.

"We are so busy today but it's a beautiful day to come out to Wildwood," said the park's director Judy Domaszek. "This is one of our baby aoudads, it's an African sheep, and as you can see in the background there are many people busy playing with the baby goats, and the sheep and the pigs and the tortoises, and they're just enjoying their day."

On Saturday the park had a giraffe feeding.

Workers also have been renovating and expanding the park.

The park has many new animals on the way, including some baby animals that were born there.

"The mouflon sheep are new, we've got some new reptiles, we have some new babies that we're going to have down in the nursery in a little while," Domaszek said. "We actually had a baby badger born here at the zoo. And we have a baby kangaroo. Those guys are all coming down when it's safe to come down."

Wildwood is open every day from 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Then after Memorial Day the park stays open till 5:30 p.m. for the summer. 


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We'll have the details on this story and more tonight on Newswatch 12 - news from where you live.

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