MCS working to stay ahead of juvenile crime - WMC Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

MCS working to stay ahead of juvenile crime

By Kontji Anthony - bio | email

MEMPHIS, TN (WMC-TV) - The state of Tennessee is seeing an increase in youth crime, and things are no different for students in Memphis and Shelby County.  But Memphis City Schools is working to get ahead of that trend.

Earlier this month, all in one day, Shelby County Juvenile Court put an unprecedented five minors in adult jail for serious crimes.

We learned that day juvenile transfers to adult jail are 36-percent higher than last year. Now, Memphis City Schools is seeing a similar trend.

"We're seeing an actual increase in some of the incidents of our younger students," MCS Security Chief Gerald Darling said.

So Darling began beefing up security.

"The additional security is making a big difference in our schools," he said.

Memphis isn't alone.  The most recent Department of Justice stats show juvenile court actions in Shelby County almost 10 percent from 2007 to 2008.  Meanwhile, juvenile court actions.

MCS Chief of Staff Alfred Hall says the school system is not just putting more security on campuses.     

"It just allows us to be more proactive," Hall said. "To have more presence of not just security officers, but increased presence of adults."

Hall says the goal is to stop the conflict before it starts.

"Really try to enhance and build relationships with students so we may be able to find out about incidents before they occur," he said.

"The additional support that we've added in schools has contributed to a level of safety in schools," Darling added.

The school system is also tackling factors that undermine school safety by putting health clinics in schools and addressing the high student mobility rate.

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