Officials: First day school attendance up

School attendance up. / Jessica Fairley

Monday marked the first day of the school for Dougherty County students. Officials say through promotion and community involvement it was a success.

They say numbers are up for first day attendance. In recent years, the Dougherty County School System has battled getting children to school on the first day. Officials reached out to parents for help and this year the superintendent says he believes they got it right.

"Turnout was strong and as a matter of fact I got some calls from some schools," said Dougherty County School System Superintendent Dr. Joshua Murfree, "And let me define strong. Some schools were overloaded or overcrowded, which was great."

Dr. Murfree says he's gotten reports that some schools were up over 150 to 200 students compared to last year. In days to come, he's expecting those numbers to grow. He says he's confident in this because parents have put in the work and school staffs are noticing it.

"They called me and said that one hundred of our students got their schedule before they hit the classrooms," said Dr. Murfree.

The superintendent says he's not only concerned about what goes on inside the schools, but also what happens just outside school doors. He says while the community has pulled together to make sure school attendance is up they also need to keep a watchful eye out on the road.

"I saw some cars speeding through the school zone and I'm watching like this is a school zone...put it in the frame work," said Superintendent Murfree.

Albany law enforcement was out on the streets making sure drivers followed proper guidelines.

"They need to be aware of what school zones are out and what school zones are in. Some have flashing lights, some have proper signs," said Albany Police Department Cpl. Jon Segroves, "They need to pay attention to those signs on the roadway."

He says if anyone thinks there may be a school anywhere around, they should slow down because if they're caught the fine will be doubled. Officer Segroves says parents should also do their part to make sure kids are safe.

"Make sure they cross at the cross walks. They need to wait till a crossing guard comes out and helps them get across so that they are not crossing against traffic," said Cpl. Segroves.

Both officials say when parents and community members follow the rules on the outside of the school, children take that example and apply it to the inside.

Dr. Murfree says he thanks parents and the community for doing their part to get more children in school this year. He says now they must keep up the work.