As a coordinator for the Madison County, Mo., truancy program, Brad Paschal doesn’t seem like the type of guy who thinks more kids should be playing video games. But recently Paschal had a revelation, reports the North County Journal: Why not embrace the technology and create after-school video game clubs to draw kids to tutoring sessions? "Our goal is to get them attached to school," said Paschal. "While they are there, we want to get them attached to attendance and academics, build trust with the staff, and gain a sense of belonging." So far, two locations have signed on with the county’s initiative, funded through a $10,000 Illinois Department of Human Resources grant awarded in October. The goal is to keep kids in school and drive down the number of students who miss class without permission, which numbered about 13,000 last year. Games being suggested are non-violent, but not necessarily educational in nature. Although the county’s video-game program is starting out primarily as an incentive to raise attendance, Paschal said it also could provide other educational possibilities. "We want to bring in professionals from video and graphic design, to show students they can apply those interests and make a career out of it," he said. "It’s a way to show them that they can use those skills in a positive way."

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