Education commissioner orders Shelby County Schools to turn over student information to Green Dot Public Schools

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MEMPHIS, Tenn. — Fairley High School is one of five schools that the Green Dot Achievement School District now runs. The former Shelby County school was taken over to improve low performance and grades.

Green Dot's executive director Megan Quaile says it's working. They want to reach more students and let them know their options for education.

"For us it's about making sure our families have access to information about Fairley High School or any of our other achievement schools," says Quaile.

But Shelby County Schools has refused to turn over student information even though a state law now requires it.

So Monday, the state education commissioner sent Superintendent Dorsey Hopson a letter saying the system is violating state law and must provide students' names, addresses, dates of attendance and grade levels to the ASD schools, with the consent of parents.

"This is basically names and addresses. Basic information," says Quaile.

An SCS spokesperson said Hopson agreed to follow the law but stressed the need to let families be able to control who their information is shared with.

Shelby County School Board member Stephanie Love says parents have called her in the past concerned about the information going out and people showing up at their homes.

"Her question to me was who was this person that came to my door and how does he have my children's personal information? Birthday. Social security number, name? How does he even know who I am? I couldn't answer that question because I didn't know," says Love.  "We don't know who this charter organization is going to give the information to. That's my biggest concern. Once they receive this information what are they going to do with it and how are they going to ensure the information is kept safe?"

State Rep. Antonio Parkinson has heard the concerns too. In the state legislature, he pushed against releasing the information.

"The schools that are authorized by the state school board, they don't have any students. So they are trying to give them an advantage or opportunity to siphon off student from Shelby County Schools," says Parkinson.

There is no word on what Shelby County Schools plans to do, but it's a battle that may be far from over.

"We are trying to build great neighborhood opportunities for students," says Quaile.

"My question would be: Is there anything they can do if Shelby County doesn't hand it over? What are they gonna do? Put them in time out? " says Parkinson.

Green Dot has about 2,000 students across the five schools it operates in Memphis. They say once they get the list from SCS, they will start canvassing for more.

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