More than 150 students have achieved perfect attendance (and no tardies) at the 11 Shelby County Schools now participating in the DA’s Truancy Reduction Program.
“To go through an entire school year without missing a day is a remarkable achievement,” said Gen. Weirich. “Congratulations to these students, and to the equally remarkable parents, grandparents and guardians who helped make sure the students got to school each day.”
Student winners this year are from Alton Elementary, Ford Road Elementary, Georgian Hills Middle, Hamilton Middle, Hawkins Mill Elementary, Hickory Elementary, Hickory Ridge Middle, Magnolia Elementary, Ridgeway Middle, Sherwood Middle and Winridge Elementary.
Students must bring their perfect attendance certificates from their schools and the congratulatory letters sent to them by Gen. Weirich.
The program is sponsored by the Hyde Family Foundation, FedEx, Walmart, Monogram Foods, Nucor Steel, and the Rotary Club of Memphis. The Memphis Hightailers Bicycle Club is donating helmets and t-shirts, and members will give bicycle safety tips. All About Bikes on South Mendenhall is donating bicycle locks at the event.
Also, members of the Memphis Police Department’s Community Outreach Program (C.O.P.) are helping with logistics and organization. Many of the officers also are volunteer mentors in the Truancy Reduction Program, said program director Megan Pietrowski.
A review by the DA’s Office in 2005-06 showed that one fourth of juvenile crime in Memphis occurs during school hours away from campuses, most likely involving truant or expelled students. In response, the office’s Truancy Reduction Program was created to identify at-risk students with excessive unexcused absences and to provide assistance to students, parents and faculty to reduce truancy rates.
Over the past 10 years, truancy rates have declined at participating schools.
The program matches truant students with trained mentors from the community who work with them and emphasize the importance of daily school attendance. The mentors work at least one year with the students and make weekly contact with them. A mentor advocate from the DA’s Office also is involved.
Anyone interested in becoming a mentor can call 901-222-1395 or apply on the DA’s website at https://www.scdag.com/preventingcrime/mentoring.