DeSoto Schools ward off illegal students from other districts

If you drive onto public school property in DeSoto County with Tennessee tags, expect to be questioned.  School officials and even campus police are stopping parents and kicking out kids who don't belong in their schools.

Some DeSoto County say they are tired of students from neighboring counties crossing the border and mooching off their tax dollars.

"Absolutely," said parent Yvonne Garton. "I see it every year."

Garton said she has three kids currently enrolled in DeSoto County Schools.  She pays taxes here, she says, and expects other parents to as well.
DeSoto County Schools Superintendent Milton Kuykendall estimates in the past three years the system has stopped nearly 500 students from getting an illegal education in DeSoto County.  According to Kuykendall, it is not a new problem, but with 6 new schools that just opened yesterday in DeSoto County, the problem is growing.

With no real penalty for residency violators, Kuykendall says it's a problem without an easy fix.  "We found one in Olive Branch today," he said. Next week they'll be in Hernando trying to get in or in Southaven or Horn Lake."

Kuykendall said the problem is more than just children in the wrong school, equating the situation to a problem with morality.

"The real issue with me is it starts children in Kindergarten, and first grade, lying about where they live," he said.

Kuykendall said he is pushing for new legislation that would slap serious penalties on violators.  For now, he said, the best thing to do is turn in anyone trying to cheat the system.