MEMPHIS, Tenn. — Memphis Shelby County Schools expects hundreds of families will show up at Juvenile Court over a three-day period to address truancy.
MSCS is partnering with Shelby County Juvenile Court to work with parents of children who have been truant from school. They want to get them enrolled, but they also want to make sure they stay.
“We see the immediate need to be able to intervene for families where they have had a matter before the court as it relates to truancy,” said Stephanie Hill, CAO and Chief of Strategy and Innovation for Juvenile Court. “We need to be able to quickly dispose of the issue and get them on track to be back in school for the 2024 school year.”
On day one of the clinics, a few dozen families attended. They expect that number to grow in the coming days.
“As you can see by the number of people here, people want to resolve their issue. They want to get their child in school. They want to be compliant,” said Hill.
That is why the truancy clinic was brought back. In 2020, the school board ended its partnership with then-Shelby County District Attorney Amy Weirich’s office on a truancy program.
Now, Dr. Stephanie Hill says the event is back to give parents as much help and recourses as possible so their kids stay in school.
“It is mostly education around truancy, both from the Memphis Shelby County School side and as well as from the juvenile court side,” said Hill, “to explain where we are, what the laws are, what the processes are, and what the recourses and services are.”
Recently, juvenile crime has spiked in Memphis. Dr. Hill says while there may be a correlation, the numbers don’t show that children are solely committing crimes during school hours.
“There is data that demonstrates most of the delinquency we experience in our community, happens after school time, and we should be conscious of that,” said Hill.
For the families that showed up to the truancy clinic, they were not allowed to leave until their child had been registered for school.
“They will be registered for school today, and our expectation is on August 7, they will be in school,” said Hill.
► Get help at the truancy clinic – If you did not make it to the clinic Wednesday, there are two more chances: Thursday from 3 to 7 p.m. and Friday from 1 to 4 p.m.