Taking Back Our Neighborhoods: A school for juvy - WMC Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

Taking Back Our Neighborhoods: A school for juvy

By Joe Birch - bio | email | Follow us on Twitter

MEMPHIS, TN (WMC-TV) - School drop-outs may soon drop-in if they get locked up at Juvenile Court.  Preparations are now underway to create a school inside the juvenile detention facility in downtown Memphis.

"We're going to be able to identify some kids that are falling through the cracks," said Juvenile Detention Chief Rick Powell. "We get a lot of kids who tell us they're not going to school. Fourteen years old! Well, that's not legal. Why aren't you going to school?"

A parade of 9,000 young people in socked feet and sandals will trudge through the Juvenile Court system this year.

One thing is certain: they'll fall behind in school work while locked up.   As more children get charged with more serious crimes, they're held longer and fall farther and farther behind academically.

Memphis City Schools Superintendent Dr. Kriner Cash wants to help.  Cash recently spoke to the youngsters being held downtown and toured a room renovated in hopes it'll be used for classes.

Cash says he'd like to find private money to pay for computers so kids can keep current with class work online.

"So that the curriculum can be anytime, anywhere, all day, anyplace," Cash said. "And they can be learning; they can be reading. They need to be doing something constructive down there. That's what I was struck by."

The only book learning opportunity now available comes from the detention center's small libraries. 

From the school of hard knocks, some young lives may discover a love of learning at a place that gives "detention" a whole new meaning!

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