DeSoto County aims to cut juvenile crime in half in 5 years

DeSoto County aims to cut juvenile crime in half in 5 years
Rykalah Peterson (Source: WMC Action News 5)
Rykalah Peterson (Source: WMC Action News 5)

MEMPHIS, TN (WMC) - DeSoto County is looking to adopt a program that has seen significant success in Memphis.

The program pairs high school students with college students--giving high school students a chance to learn education and life skills.

The program has seen success in Raleigh, Frayser, and Whitehaven. One of its success stories, Rykalah Peterson, is now a manager at Holiday Inn in Southaven.

Peterson took part in the program while she was a student at East High School in Memphis.

"It helped me with my communication skills, helped me be a lot more personable with people, and feel a lot more comfortable and confident moving forward," Peterson said.

The program helped increase the graduation rate at Whitehaven High School from 70 percent to more than 90 percent.

Now, DeSoto County wants to bring the program to its schools.

County leaders hope the program will help young citizens and in turn reduce the juvenile crime rate. After five years, DeSoto County hopes to have seen a 50 percent reduction in juvenile crime.

"The more educated children we have, the more you're going to take kids off the streets, because they can go to college or get good jobs," education consultant Heather Fox said.

If approved by the school board, the program could start as early as January of 2018.

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