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Wednesday, 27 July 2016 15:27

Volunteers Call to Reduce Truancy

Shelby County Dist. Atty. Gen. Amy Weirich explains anti-truancy call night. Shelby County Dist. Atty. Gen. Amy Weirich explains anti-truancy call night.
MEMPHIS – More than 20 elected officials, celebrities and media personalities turned out Monday evening for the first anti-truancy phone-a-thon called “Dialing for Students: Celebrity Night,” said Shelby County Dist. Atty. Gen. Amy Weirich.
The call event was organized by the Attendance and Truancy Task Force which was created last year by PeopleFirst Partnership and Operation Safe Community. Gen. Weirich and Shelby County Schools Supt. Dorsey Hopson co-chaired the phone-a-thon.
The task force goal is to reduce absenteeism by 25 percent in SCS and the Achievement School District.
The event, held at the SCS Parent Welcome Center at 2686 Avery, involved officials and celebrities calling parents of many of the 29,000 Shelby County Schools students who were chronically absent last year and encouraging them to get their children enrolled. SCS has just over 114,000 students.
“As a mother of four, I know how important it is to get them out the door and into the classroom,” said Gen. Weirich. “We need to do everything we can to get our children in Shelby County to school every day. Education is the best gift we can give to our children.”
Students are considered chronically absent if they miss 18 days of school - two days a month – whether excused or unexcused. Chronic absenteeism is likely to cause a child to fall behind academically and decrease chances of graduating from high school.
Participants in the phone-a-thon also included City Mayor Jim Strickland, County Mayor Mark Luttrell, Interim Memphis Police Director Michael Rallings, U.S. Attorney Ed Stanton, County Commission Chairman Terry Roland and Grammy-winning record producer Lawrence “Boo” Mitchell.
 The DA’s office also runs the Mentoring Based Truancy Reduction Program which seeks to identify to identify habitually truant students - five absences without an excuse - and match them and their parents with a trained Truancy Program Mentor.