Despite national bike shortage, District Attorney General Charme Allen holds up her end of the deal for attendance reward program at West Hills Elementary School.Posted: 8/11/2020
Knox County District Attorney General Charme Allen presented a brand-new bike to nearly 90 West Hills Elementary School students who achieved perfect attendance during the 2019-2020 School Year. A grant from the Rotary Club of Knoxville funded this year’s program. Additionally, Epilepsy Foundation of East Tennessee provided a helmet with each bike.
Each year since taking office, General Allen has partnered with a Knox County elementary school to reward students who achieve perfect attendance with a new bike. As part of General Allen’s Truancy Reduction Initiative, she created the Bike Reward Program to encourage positive habits early on. The purpose of the program is to reward students for achieving perfect attendance, raise awareness for the importance of school attendance, and celebrate increases in attendance rates. Since the program’s inception, Gen. Allen has partnered with six schools and awarded nearly 300 bikes.
“My primary job as the District Attorney is to seek justice and to help maintain public safety; however, there are a myriad of ways my office can partner with the community to prevent youth from becoming involved in the criminal justice system, either as victims or offenders,” shared General Allen. “Encouraging school attendance helps build a solid foundation for our community’s next generation.”
Good attendance matters for school success, starting as early as prekindergarten and continuing through elementary school. Chronic absenteeism and truancy are identified as areas of concern in our schools and community. Reducing truancy is a vitally important step in preventing Knox County youth from entering the juvenile justice system. Research and first-hand experience tell us that children who are truant have lower grades, need to repeat grades more often, have higher rates of expulsion, and have lower rates of high school graduation. Research also tells us that children who habitually miss school are at risk of substance abuse, gang activity, criminal behavior, suicide, and early sexual activity, making truancy not just an education issue but also community issue.