FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. (KNWA/KFTA) — Current high school freshman students in Arkansas school districts will now be required to volunteer 75 hours as a graduation requirement.
It goes into effect this year and will continue for every student that comes after them.
Assistant superintendent of teaching and learning at Fayetteville Public Schools Courtney Morawski says students must complete 15 hours in their freshman year and 20 hours every school year after that.
“If students go over, we think that’s wonderful. However, the law really requires that we meet those benchmarks each year so you can’t accumulate them all your freshman year and be done. You have to complete the service each year all the way till you graduate,” Morawski said.
These requirements are included in the LEARNS Act, signed by Gov. Sarah Huckabee Sanders in March.
The Fayetteville School District is working on a plan to help students follow the law and fulfill the graduation requirements.
“The goal, number one, is to meet the law. So, the legislators decided that we would have this as a graduation requirement. So [we’re] just waiting on a little guidance for clarity on some of the way the language is written in the law to make sure that we’re following that. But the goal, I think, is to have students graduate with 75 hours,” Morawski said.
Organizations like Fayetteville Animal Services could benefit from this new requirement.
“We definitely can use all the help we get, though, because we have so many pets here that need homes, and the more interaction they get with people, the better their health and their mental health is. And that makes them more adoptable,” Animal Services Superintendent Justine Lentz said.
While she wants people to volunteer, she doesn’t agree with making it mandatory.
“Volunteering is really important, but I know that everybody comes from different walks of life and some people have more resources than others. And time is a resource. Transportation is a resource. So, we always feel like volunteering should come from a place of wanting to help. And so that can be difficult for some people,” she said.
Moraski says information about the requirements will be sent Tuesday and Wednesday to parents of freshman students.
Parent meetings will be scheduled in the fall for more details.