Shelby County Schools and Memphis Grizzlies join forces in new c - WMC Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

Shelby County Schools and Memphis Grizzlies join forces in new campaign

(Photo Source: MEM Instagram account) (Photo Source: MEM Instagram account)
(Source: WMC Action News 5) (Source: WMC Action News 5)

Shelby County Schools launched a new campaign to crack down on truancy.

"It's simple, if kids aren't in school, then they simply can't learn," said SCS Superintendent Dorsey Hopson.

SCS partnered with the Memphis Grizzlies, District Attorney Amy Weirich, Seeding Success and Mayor Mark Luttrell to pledge their support to put a stop to truancy.

"Last year, there were 22 thousand students, kids K through 12, who missed 10 percent [of the school year]," Weirich said.

Luttrell proclaimed September as Attendance Awareness Month in Shelby County.

Hopson and others said the entire community must play a part in keeping kids at school.

"We've talked with a lot of families, and there are all kinds of issues and most of them stem from the suffocating poverty that we have here in Memphis," Hopson added.

The Memphis Grizzlies vowed to give away game tickets, free dinners and autographed photos to schools who participate. The team also said they will go on surprise visits to schools with high attendance.

"We want our guys to win on the court, but we want our students to win in the classroom," said Diane Terrell of the Memphis Grizzlies Foundation.

Tony Allen will be the voice of a recorded wake-up call urging students to get up, get to school and grit and grind.

While the group all offered positive reinforcements to get students to class, Weirich said her task force is still working hard to prosecute parents of truant students.

"Of course truancy is over here, is the worst of the worst, but what we really want to do, as we mentioned, is just make sure every kid is in school everyday ready to learn," she explained.

Students with perfect attendance, like Cherokee Elementary School student Lovey Cleaves, said it's her job to encourage her friends to get to class.

"I tell them to make sure they are at school because you can get anything for being at school," said Cleaves. "You can have a great job, go to a great college and be successful."

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