Parents camp out, brave cold for education - WMC Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

Parents camp out, brave cold for education

Parents started to line up Wednesday afternoon although the application process does not begin until Monday. Parents started to line up Wednesday afternoon although the application process does not begin until Monday.
Ralph Leggett says the event of waiting began in the late 1980s. Ralph Leggett says the event of waiting began in the late 1980s.

(WMC-TV) - Parents braved the cold for a better education as they waited outside the Shelby County School District headquarters to be among the first to sign up for optional schools.

Officials say the camp-out remains the annual dilemma the district would like to avoid. Parents started to line up Wednesday afternoon although the application process does not begin until Monday.

Parents say they will do anything for their children's education.

The district's bar-coded application process was created to cut down on the need to camp out.

"We want them to go home. I've asked them to go home. I can't make them leave," said SCS Optional Program Director Linda Sklar. "I think parents feel there are certain programs that meet their child's special needs, and that's why they're here"

Ralph Leggett says the event of waiting began in the late 1980s. He pitched a tent this year to improve his granddaughter's chance of getting into White Station Middle, where there are 100 spots for sixth graders who live outside the attendance zone.

"We pay these people's taxes ... You've got to come out and stand in line to get your kids in school?" said Leggett.

District officials say few optional applications are denied regardless of if parents camp out or not.

Some of the parents used their cars to stay warm Thursday. They were asked to move them earlier in the night by Memphis police.

Copyright 2014 WMC-TV. All rights reserved.

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