Parents of habitually truant students invited to church and not court
MEMPHIS, TN (WMC) - The parents of habitually truant students have been sent an invitation not to court, but to church.
The parents of more than 100 school students with habitual truancy in the last school year have been invited to visit Mt. Moriah Baptist Church on Monday, January 11, to resolve court-related issues with no fear of being arrested, according to Shelby County District Attorney General Amy Weirich.
"No one is going to jail," Megan Pietrowski, program coordinator of the DA's Mentoring Based Truancy Reduction Program, said. "This will be a safe environment."
It's called Operation Safe Serve and it is happening between 4-7 p.m. at 2634 Carnes Avenue.
The parents have pending court summonses on them that have not been served yet, but those can be addressed at the church during the program.
Under the law, parents whose children have five days of unexcused absences can be found guilty of a misdemeanor, punishable by up to 11 months and 29 days in jail and fines of up to $2,500.
"We don't want to fill the jails," Weirich said. "We want to fill the classrooms."
The solution, according to the program, will be a remedy plan instead of jail.
Parents will be placed on the General Sessions 15 court docket where a remedy plan will be outlined.
Those parents received robocalls with pre-recorded messages informing them of their truancy-related status and Monday's Safe Surrender option.
The DA's Mentoring Base Truancy Reduction Program, which is in effect in 14 Shelby County schools, is an intervention plan that includes truant students with advocates and mentors to promote class attendance and good behavior.
More than 4,000 students have been referred to the program since it began in the 2006-2007 school year.
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