SCS principal to pay parents to increase perfect attendance

SHELBY COUNTY, Tenn. — One Shelby County principal has come up with creative ways to make sure students show up to school.

He's offering up his own money as a reward to one lucky parent if their child has perfect attendance.

It's all in effort to fight truancy and do whatever it takes to get students into class.

Threats of ending up behind bars might not tickle most parents fancy, but putting some extra money in their pockets might.

"I believe it's a good incentive, but they should want to send their kids to school regardless," said a parent.

Scenic Hills parents got the flyer, but it doesn't appeal to the students as much as it does to the parents.

It says that one lucky parent who gets their child to school each day could earn $100.

"They didn't have to pay me to do anything, because I was a parent that put my food down," Sharon Howard said.

Howard says paying parents to do their part seems bizarre.

"I took mine everyday, and I dared them to walk out that door once I took them to school. I dared them to walk out," she said.

Although Howard's children may not have walked out of class, plenty of students don't show up. That contributes to the districts constant struggle with truancy.

It's a battle the district has been looking for ways to fight for years.

"I remember when I was a kid, kids were always truant. They didn't want to go to school," Howard said.

Some parents expressed concern about the pressure for perfect attendance, saying it might lead parents to send students to school even if they are sick.

"If your kids are sick, just leave them home. Don't make them go to school if they are sick," she said.

As of now, parents can face a $50 fine and up to 10 days in jail for truancy.

Last year, at least 50 parents were summoned to court because students were skipping class.