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CITIZENSHIP POLICY HAMPERS ONLY A FEW

Despite controversy over high school policies that make citizenship credit a requirement for graduation, there were few students in Utah who failed to get their diplomas this year based on the policies.

In Granite District, where a citizenship policy was initiated districtwide for the first time this year, a dozen students scattered among eight high schools ended the year without enough citizenship credit to graduate with their classes. With one exception, the students planned to make up the credit and qualify for their diplomas during the summer, said Wendall Sullivan, district director of high schools.Cottonwood High School, where there was some discontent expressed with the policy, had "seven or eight" students who had not earned sufficient credit to graduate, and all were planning to complete the makeup work to cancel unsatisfactory grades, he said. Students have the option of doing community service or taking classes to offset poor citizenship grades.

Granite High had 10, and one student chose not to make up the credit and forego a diploma.

Kearns, Olympus and Taylorsville had no students with citizenship deficits when the year ended; Cyprus had two; and Skyline and Granger one each.

Earlier this spring, parents and students at several of the schools had expressed concerns with the policy and predicted that several hundred students would be barred from graduation.

Sullivan said district officials intend to work on the policy this summer to detect problem areas and possibly make refinements.

A spot check of other districts that make good citizenship a requirement for graduation indicated that very few students were kept from graduation based solely on that factor.

In Salt Lake District, "One student in one school has a problem," said district spokeswoman Jan Keller, "And they're negotiating." She said it was likely the student would work out an arrangement to resolve the pending citizenship problem so a diploma could be awarded.

Juab District had no one whose graduation was in question based solely on the citizenship issue, said Superintendent Kirk Wright.

One student at Spanish Fork High School, Nebo District, chose voluntarily not to make up the credit and failed to graduate, said Principal Bob Wadley.

Wadley said the citizenship policy has good support in the community and has improved student attendance and reduced tardies in the school.