Over 40K MSCS students faced truancy during 2021-22 school year

Published: Feb. 20, 2023 at 5:47 PM CST|Updated: Feb. 22, 2023 at 10:37 AM CST
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MEMPHIS, Tenn. (WMC) - According to the Memphis-Shelby County School District, 40,000 MSCS students faced truancy during the 2021-2022 school year.

A student can face truancy after at least five absences, according to MSCS.

District officials attribute this increase primarily to a fear of students contracting COVID-19 and say there was a nationwide trend in “chronic absenteeism.”

Other common reasons for truancy include:

  • Homelessness/housing instability - We have the highest number of homeless students ever.
  • Financial hardships including inability to afford utilities or rent, food insecurity, and transportation issues
  • Parent disabilities or illness
  • Job loss
  • Parent incarceration
  • Childcare issues
  • Student illness including chronic conditions
  • Student and/or parent mental health issues

MSCS says their plan to reduce these numbers includes support for truant families that includes transportation vouchers, uniform vouchers, student health centers, mental health supports, academic interventions for homeless families, after-school tutoring, and district-wide parent attendance meetings.

After five unexcused absences, a meeting is held with parents, students and staff to develop a plan to help the student attend school regularly.

After 10 unexcused absences, a student attendance review board meeting is held at the district level.

After all intervention methods fail, the student is then referred to juvenile court.

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