Herenton Charter School for Juvenile Court To Open 2013

By Bill Dries

Memphis City Schools leaders and former Memphis Mayor Willie Herenton announced Wednesday, Sept. 12, the opening of a new charter school for children in Memphis-Shelby County Juvenile Court custody.

Herenton, also a former Memphis City Schools superintendent, current school system superintendent Kriner Cash as well as Juvenile Court Judge Curtis Person Jr. announced the Thurgood Marshall Academy will open in August 2013 at the start of the school year.

Terms and details of the agreement are still being worked out. But Herenton, Cash and Person agreed the school will initially be for children in grades 6-12. And Cash said it is likely but still tentative that the school will be based at Northside High School.

Cash also said he envisions several locations for the academy. Herenton agreed that he would like to see that but cautioned that he wants to get the first school up and running.

Herenton won state approval for a set of charter schools including one with juvenile court under his W.E.B. DuBois Consortium.

After Wednesday's announcement, Herenton said the academy would be financed primarily with state education funding that would come with the students who attend the school as well as education grants from foundations that his organization intends to apply for.

Herenton announced earlier this year that he was working with court officials on the charter school. Juvenile Court officials said they were anxious to see a school setting that would provide consistency for children in court custody and beyond their custody.

Herenton confirmed the children would still attend the academy after their time in detention ends. That would also depend on parents and guardians consenting to a child attending the charter school.

The new charter school will also provide counseling services for behavior, discipline and mental health issues.