Operation Safe Serve offers options for parents with truancy warrants

MEMPHIS, Tenn. -- Megan Pietrowski, with the Shelby County District Attorney's Office, knows her job involves a lot more the prosecuting, especially when it comes to students who miss a lot of school.

"There are often health issues keeping child from school: resources, uniforms, a family could be displaced," she said.

By law, if students have more than five unexcused absences, their parents could get arrested. Pietrowski said her truancy team does everything it can to ensure that doesn`t happen.

She also works with Ronald Pope, manager of student safety at Shelby County Schools.

"If they have a problem with uniforms, we can provide uniforms. If they have a problem with counseling, with anger management, if children are defiant, we can provide whatever resources a parent needs," Pope said.

County officials say they currently have warrants for 107 parents and guardians whose kids have missed at least 10 days of school. They`re offering "operation safe serve" as a sort of day of amnesty when people can come to the Criminal Justice Center without going in to custody and instead get help.

"Our hope is that they`ll come in and we can convert those arrest warrants to a criminal summons and give them a court date to come back. We don`t want to take them into custody. We`re trying to prevent taking parents into custody because they have other children to worry about," Pietrowski said.

Pope reminded the community of the real reason for handling this issue.

"We want them in school on a daily basis and if they`re not were gonna do what it takes to protect the children, most precious resource and get them in school on a regular basis. They must be educated to be successful in this world," he said.

Impacted parents should`ve received a phone call or email but officials say sometimes it can be hard to reach people who've moved. They can come to 201 Poplar Thursday between 3 and 5 p.m. in courtroom division 15.

If you can't make it during that window, call 901-222-1395.