Dr. Cash lays out plan to fight truancy - WMC Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

Reported by Lori Brown

Dr. Cash lays out plan to fight truancy

MEMPHIS, TN (WMC-TV) - He wants to keep kids off the streets, out of trouble, and in class during school hours. Now, Memphis City Schools Superintendent Kriner Cash has a plan to fight truancy.

Cash said every hour a child misses school is an hour the child falls farther behind. He said he wants to stop the downward spiral before kids go from students to drop outs.

Cash said he is already seeing a difference in students at Memphis City Schools.

"We see the lights coming on. Still a long way to go," Cash said.

To get there, though, a big challenge is getting some students to simply come to school.

"Truancy is a simple issue. If you're not in school, you are not learning what school teaches," Cash said.

He said instead, the students are probably learning what street life teaches.

Dr. Cash said his plan is to attack the root problems of truancy and actively find the kids who are skipping school.

"We're going to be doing sweeps now, where we can look for certain hotspots for students to be hanging out.  When they should be in school. It's a much more coordinated effort," Cash said.

Once the kids are found, Dr. Cash said they will go to Truancy Assessment Centers where an officer will work to find the root cause of why a student is avoiding school.

"Sometimes we find it's something as simple as not having a uniform.  And I'm staying out of school because I know I'm going to be hassled," Cash said. "Often it's other issues, peer pressure, bullying. Fear of failure because you're already sliding."

Dr. Cash hopes to catch and address those issues in Middle School, before students are more familiar with the streets than with their school.

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