Today, the father of the boy who threw his grade sheet in the trash because he had an F and was ineligible for basketball under the NEW STATE RULES, showed up, and talked to the principal first. We were on the same page -- students NEED TO DO THEIR READING. If not, they are unable to participate in the class discussions, and can't pass, as 50 points is determined by reading the book. The projects frequently are dependent on completion of the book. Only one does not relate to the book -- a word search using the vocabulary the students will encounter in it.
I reprinted the sheet for dad, told him that when his son failed to turn in things for the first book, getting a 14% (and earning a report), he could only save the entire quarter by doing excellent work on the other two books.
Dad, frustrated that his son could not play, left. Neither he nor I can MAKE the student do the work. Doing stuff for him does not put ANYTHING in his head.
The principal showed up shortly afterward, so I said, "I guess you got to deal with him." (He'd warned me the night before to be prepared to defend the results. Since I grade everything the students do, and hand them back, and offer help, etc. and post the results in the grade book, complete with notes as to why, I figured that was enough of a paper trail for anyone to be able to follow.)
"Did you get my email?"
No, I had detention kids in, then a parent, then another parent looking for the young son nobody picked up so the older sister spent most of her detention getting him, keeping him busy, etc. If she read 10 minutes out of the entire half hour, I'm surprised.
I documented for him what I had said/done with the father.
I have no idea what ELSE I can do. Somewhere in this equation, students have to take ownership of some effort and produce.
The principal thinks the state is deliberately leaning on schools with student populations under 600 (we're at 325 or so, K-grade 12, and dropping a bit every year as rural people follow jobs elsewhere.) Small schools are supposed to be inefficient. I think kids get a lot more personal attention in smaller schools, whether they want it, or not. The hiders are out in the open.