Tony Allen sends wake up call to thousands of SCS students - WMC Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

Tony Allen sends wake up call to thousands of SCS students

(Photo Source: MEM Instagram account) (Photo Source: MEM Instagram account)
MEMPHIS, TN (WMC) -

Shelby County Schools' new campaign against truancy kicked off with a wake up call from Tony Allen.

Click here to listen to the voicemail thousands of families received Tuesday morning.

September is Attendance Awareness Month in Shelby County.

Approximately 22,000 students missed 10 or more percent of the school year in Shelby County last year, according to District Attorney Amy Weirich.

Shelby County leaders partnered with the Memphis Grizzlies to create Represent Everyday. It's a program designed to encourage students to go to school and get an education.

Here's a transcript of what the voicemail said:

"Hello everyone. This is the Grindfather, Tony Allen--Memphis Grizzlies. Being successful takes a lot of hard work and dedication. It includes going to school every day. Go get that education. Grit-n-grind."

Some students were thrilled that the Grizzlies star took the time to call and they think the encouragement will have a positive impact.

"I do I think kids will look up to that, it would be like, oh wow, Tony Allen says be good in school, so I'm going to be good," said 12th grader Dallas Moore.

That is the effect Shelby County Schools, the D.A.’s office and others are hoping Allen will have on students.

The goal is to reduce truancy, something that was a problem for 22,000 students last year.

Teenagers said it is a problem that will get worse if something isn’t done.

“A lot of kids don't understand the importance of coming to school every day and how it can affect you,” said 11th grader Hailey Miller.

However, not everyone was happy to get a call from the Grindfather.

One parent posted to Facebook, saying Tony Allen called and woke up thousands of angry parents. There were so many complaints, an SCS spokesperson tweeted an apology.

"Sorry about the early phone calls but on the bright side shout out to Tony Allen for helping us get kids to school today,” the Tweet said.

Some parents, however, said Tony Allen and his partnership with school leaders and others is needed to combat truancy.

“It’s going to take Tony Allen and the whole neighborhood, me, you and all the parents. It’s going to take everybody, not just Tony Allen, but the parents to enforce it,” said parent Joel Carter.

"I think it does make a difference, but I think quite frankly, it starts at home with the parents,” said Jenny Sample.

School leaders said they plan to use Allen’s calls, but not every day.

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