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Juvenile court, schools launch ‘CIA’

The Escambia County Juvenile Delinquent Court and Escambia County Schools are launching the Escambia County Character in Action Program (CIA) next month.

The program is intended to recognize exemplary character and good citizenship among high school students in the county.

Circuit Judge David Jordan said the plan is recognize the first student in early March after nominations have been made.

“For this month, next Monday would be the deadline,” he said.

To be nominated, a young person must be a current student in a high school in the Escambia County school system. The program is going to be run in a limited fashion for the rest of the school year, and could expand to the Brewton City School system the next school year. Any teacher, counselor or administrator of any county high school may nominate a student.

“We’re not looking to pick out the smartest kid in the class, No. 1,” Jordan said. “There’s nothing wrong with it, but that’s not the criteria or focus of the program. What we want are the kids who may not be doing well academically, have a tough home life, but respond to teachers well and listen, instead of resisting authority.”

A nominating school official will fill out a brief form that’s provided to EC Superintendent John Knott. The form is then turned into the specific school’s office, and the school will forward the form to the JPO Office.

The juvenile staff then will select a student for recognition for the preceding month, Jordan said.

Selected students, along with their parents, will be notified and will receive a free T-shirt with the “CIA” logo.

Jordan said the idea to create the CIA has been a long-time coming.

“I have long wanted to implement a program to recognize students who demonstrate these admirable characteristics,” he said. “Our Escambia County School Board, Mr. Knott, principals and staffs of our county schools do a great job with our kids.

“So often the public is aware of negatives created by a few, but rarely do we focus on the kids who are succeeding and who truly represent our schools,” he said. “I believe this program will accomplish our goal and we look forward to its success.”

Jordan said plans to expand the CIA program to other grades, not just in high school, are also in place.