Truancy Letters Sent to Parents of Virtual Learners Should Be ‘Thrown in the Trash,’ Metro Nashville School Board Member Fran Bush Says



Metro Nashville reportedly sent nearly 6,000 truancy letters to the parents of students doing virtual learning, and one school board member says that is wrong and the letters should be “thrown in the trash.”

School Board member Fran Bush made the comment to The Tennessee Star on Sunday.

MNPS sent the truancy letters because of poor student attendance in distance learning, NewsChannel 5 said. The letters threaten legal action against parents or guardians of students who have five or more unexcused absences.

NewsChannel 5 quoted the mother of a kindergarten student whose son leaves the computer during lessons. She said he gets headaches and needs to be in class with students and a teacher.

The TV station cited the state’s Compulsory Attendance Law.

Bush said she disagrees that the state law is relevant.

“It should never have been an option to threaten parents during virtual learning,” Bush said. “Virtual learning is very new to Metro Schools, and therefore there should always be … an adjustment. Parents are trying their best to support their students. It is absolutely absurd to send truancy letters to any parents who are struggling with virtual learning.”

Metro does not have a policy regarding truancy for virtual learning, Bush said. Metro should never consider attacking parents as its first reaction to such a situation.

Bush said several parents contacted her about having issues getting computers, finding hotspots and so on. MNPS has several substations around the city to help families log in, but some parents have transportation issues or have to work when they might otherwise visit those centers.

“I am appalled we would even think about sending out any kind of truancy letter,” she said. “I think it’s the most insulting, non-compassionate thing. We should be thinking about how we can get back in the classroom safely” like surrounding counties.

She said MNPS needs to think outside the box.

“We are a reactive district and not a proactive district,” Bush said. When the district launches a plan, “We don’t think about what’s next. We think about getting it out there and things fall apart.”

Bush said her message to parents is to not let the letters scare them. They should write “return to sender” on the letters and mail them back. She has another suggestion too, she said.

“These truancy letters should be thrown in the trash because we need to do a better job supporting parents.”

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Jason M. Reynolds has more than 20 years’ experience as a journalist at outlets of all sizes.





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7 Thoughts to “Truancy Letters Sent to Parents of Virtual Learners Should Be ‘Thrown in the Trash,’ Metro Nashville School Board Member Fran Bush Says”

  1. Covetta Dunbar

    My daughter received a truancy letter on Saturday Sept. 12 date for the 9th of Sept saying she needs to be in court on 10/06/2020 for my grandson educational neglect & it even had a probation officer assigned to my grandson. I think this is unfair because at first we was having problems login in & I got my neighbor to help me get him signed in & we was on it for him to do his work & I even talked to some of his teachers. Then my other grandson one day accidentally knot the computer over & broke it. I traded it in & got another computer now this computer keeps saying the site can’t be find & I have let my neighbor even take it up to a school close to us to see if it hooked up to school WiFi for my grandson to be able to do his work & it still want connect to school WiFi or to the school hotspot. I going to take it back to H.G. Hill tomorrow & trade it again. My grandson is a 6th grader & only 12 so why would you signed him a probation officer.

  2. John

    Let’s just call it what it really is. The Metro public school system is nothing more than a K-12 daycare. Many of these kids come from broken homes. Some of which never knew their fathers. You either have mothers who are working one or more jobs to put food on the table and don’t have the time to make a kindergartner sit in front of a laptop because…..wait for it……they’re at their day job…. WORKING.

    Then you have that others , which are at home all day. They don’t work and don’t give a rip either way.

    Democrat politics have destroyed quality of life in Davidson county. No wonder so many of us moved out.

  3. Kevin

    It’s the blind leading the blind in Metro! Like they can afford to just blow $6 grand or more on letters that even Ray Charles or Helen Keller could see are not needed and a waste of time and money. But the fact is, NOBODY is watching the dollars or the pennies. Of course, why should they, they can just dial up another tax increase to fund any shortfall. Plus, right now, they’re flush with Covid-19 Federal money.

    And all the while us little people get defecated on, but one way or another, that is going to come to an end!

  4. Julie

    At the end of all of this and we are able to assess the damage we will find virtual learning doesn’t work for children making these truancy letters even more worthless. If anything we should send MNPS a letter for every student who fell behind due to the lack of in person learning.

  5. Mary

    I thought Parents weren’t supposed to monitor their Child’s online learning?

  6. rick

    Thank you Fran Bush for being there and fighting for the students and the parents. With Dr Battle being a puppet for Cooper and Cooper being the incompetent political hack playing mayor that he is, we need a strong individual as yourself. I heard your interview where you had a meeting with Cooper and he lost it and went irate, keep it up that means you are doing the right thing and it upsets Comrade Cooper. He is such a loser.
    Everything goes back to the head of the snake Cooper!

  7. Ron Stone

    It’s easier for MNPS to deflect and blame parents versus a rational approach to problem solving .