Student gets results after complaining about lack of books

By Jamel Major - bio | email

MEMPHIS, TN (WMC-TV) - A Mitchell High School student, outraged over a shortage of books, got results after taking his complaints straight to the top.

Justin Pearson, a sophomore at Mitchell, addressed the Memphis City Schools Board of Commissioners Monday night, telling members he and many of his classmates didn't have all their books.

"The hardest part of not having books was not being able to go over prepositions in English," he said.

Wednesday, district officials confirmed there was a mistake, saying the missing books were found in the school's storage. Mitchell High's principal has since been reprimanded for failing to follow district directives.

"There was a mistake made operationally but it happened at the building," Deputy Superintendent Dr. Irving Hamer said. "The central administration did its work and purchased the books - spent $9 million on buying textbooks for every single child."

Hamer said all principals across the district will now be audited to make sure that books have been distributed or have been ordered.

"What's really the challenge here is whether or not we ordered enough books for all the children," he said. "That's a function of some children showing up at schools that were not in the early counts."

Justin Pearson, meanwhile, was thankful his concerns were dealt with.

"A lot of textbooks were delivered," he said. "Some may still be on the way, but the quick response really shows they heard and they listened."

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