SCS, Grizzlies, Seeding Success team up to combat truancy - WMC Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

SCS, Grizzlies, Seeding Success team up to combat truancy

(Source: WMC Action News 5) (Source: WMC Action News 5)
(Source: WMC Action News 5) (Source: WMC Action News 5)
(Source: WMC Action News 5) (Source: WMC Action News 5)

About 29,000 Shelby County students were chronically absent last year, meaning they missed 18 or more days of school. Now, Shelby County Schools is teaming up with the Grizzlies for the second straight year to fight back in 10 "high need" schools.

Thursday, coming to school was fun.

"It's actually really fun, it's cool because they're here," Simeon Ragland said.

Kids loved one part in particular the most.

"The senior citizens grandmas!" one student said.

Tony Allen from the Grizzlies is the face of the campaign, but today, former University of Memphis basketball star, Elliot Perry, was the role model on hand for the kids.

"I look at all these kids as apart of me," Perry said. "When I look at these kids, I see myself, I see my family members. To come to school and get that kind of welcome, hopefully over this next year they'll continue to come to school."

Thursday was designed to make kids smile, but chronic absenteeism, defined by missing 18 or more days of school is something the school district is taking very seriously. So far this school year, several parents have been arrested for not sending their kids to school; that's what the "Represent" movement wants to avoid.

"The last thing I want to do is send parents to the penal farm just because their kids haven't gone to school. But some parents leave me no choice," Amy Weirich, Shelby County District Attorney said. "What I'd much rather do is have events like this where we see smiles on the kids parents and smiles on the parents faces."

If you ask the students at A. Maceo Walker Middle School, they'll say celebrations like Thursday's sure help.

"I think it will make a big difference on this school," Ragland said.

SCS, Seeding Success and the Grizzlies are narrowing in on 10 schools listed as "high-need" schools especially, including:

  • Belle Forest Elementary
  • Charjean Elementary
  • Dunbar Elementary
  • LaRose Elementary
  • A. Maceo Walker Middle
  • Grandview heights Middle
  • Hamilton High
  • Kirby High
  • Raleigh-Egypt Middle/high
  • Wooddale High

Throughout the year, district leaders and community partners plan to work closely with these 10 schools to motivate students and engage families. The Grizzlies will also provide rewards for students with outstanding attendance, including shirts, backpacks, autographs, and game tickets.

To learn more about Represent Everyday, click here.

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