School Says Parents Responsible For Elementary Truancy

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(Memphis) Memphis City school leaders are speaking out about the large number of truancies at one of its elementary schools.

This week ,News Channel 3 learned at least 60 parents from one elementary were issued a summons for not sending their children to school.

Inside Shannon Elementary in North Memphis students recite “I can” statements every day during morning assembly.

However, far too often this year too many students are absent.

The North Memphis school turned over the names of 60 parents who repeatedly aren’t sending their children to school.

Some children had up to 11 unexcused absences already this year.

“Sometimes parents don't take it very serious that they need to write a note to send that child back to school so they're a host of different reasons but we want to get to the bottom of it and get it addressed,” said Ron Pope, Memphis City Schools, Truancy Director.

One mother we talked to said her child wasn’t truant but she transferred her child away from Shannon because of a strained relationship with administrators at the school.

Shirita Mullins said, “They never gave the parents a warning about what was going on with the children, they just used to suspend them all the time. I felt that wasn't right by them being elementary kids.”

Pope said, “There's a process we have to help with disgruntled situations. “

Pope says keeping children out of school isn’t the answer when there are problems in the classroom.

He says the district worked early on with parents at Shannon to identify barriers with parents, “You have a whole lot of socio-economic reasons that kids don't go to school. Sometimes their uniforms aren't clean. Sometimes they're parents don't get them up. When you're talking about elementary school children, that's a parental issue."

Pope says this may seem tough taking parents to court but what they have found is once they do, they have a 50% correction rate.

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