Teachers step in as more students face homelessness in Shelby County Schools

SHELBY COUNTY, Tenn. -- As nine children sat in their classroom, their parents stood just blocks away watching their belongings get thrown to the curb,

Another family faced homelessness in the airport area.

Winchester Elementary Principal Flora Childres said more students than ever are facing homelessness and her staff is going above and beyond to make sure the children aren't impacted.

"Children are coming to school every day not knowing where they are going to sleep at night," she said. "We have more than 15 or 20 parents who have at least five plus children that are homeless."

Just this weekend, Childres and her staff rushed to help a single mother.

"I didn't have anyone else to turn to," said the mother who asked to remain anonymous.

Her landlord evicted her, her six children and three nieces and nephews for being behind on rent.

"I was crying. It was like [Childres] was an angel. Like God just put her there. She didn't have to [help], but she did," said the mother.

The school's staff loaded up the family's belongings, stored it in the school and paid for a hotel until the family could find somewhere to live.

"There's got to be some warriors for the children. They cannot fight for themselves," said Childres.

Shelby County Schools reports four out of five children are in need, and a thousand don't have a home to call their own.

The students are in plain sight. Not all are in shelters. Some double up with relatives or just constantly move from place to place.

"We are trying to teach them math, reading and writing, and their mind is on where are they going to sleep tonight. Do we have something to eat tonight?" said Childres.

That's why Childres said she and her staff try to provide stability whether that's help with laundry, a new pair of shoes, clothes or a winter coat.

She said when a student is stressed, it hurts their confidence and impacts their learning.

"We can work on the grades if we get them to the point they are not stressed and they are happy. Things are going good in their life. That's the way it should be for a child," she said.