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'People are falling through the cracks' | Thousands of NC students unaccounted for

CMS has been given about $700,000 from the state to help tackle the issue of student attendance.

MECKLENBURG COUNTY, N.C. — After being sent home from school three years ago due to the pandemic, most students eventually returned back to their classrooms, but not all of them.   

Some stayed home to learn, and some just aren't going to school at all.

“We love the relationships we get, the time we get," Matthew McDill, executive director of North Carolinians for Home Education, said.

For the McDills, the classroom has always been their home. For about 20 years, the parents have taught their kids. 

“We have flexibility to modify our curriculum based on the kids,” McDill said.  

McDill said there are several reasons why parents turn to home-schooling. The trend becoming more of a norm, due to the pandemic. 

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“There are over 100,000 families in North Carolina who have an open home-school," McDill said. "It’s bigger than private school."

But according to an analysis by the Associated Press, 12,000 students are unaccounted for. These students didn't move out of state or sign up for private or home-school.

McDill says it's a big concern that doesn't just fall on the school systems. 

“If the parents aren’t going to take responsibility for their children's education, that’s the primary problem," McDill said. 

To combat this Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools has an initiative called "street teams" where school staff goes into neighborhoods looking for students who they've lost contact with. 

Still, there's fear some students won't be reached.

“People are falling through the cracks,” McDill said. 

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It's important to note CMS has been given about $700,000 from the state to help tackle the issue of student attendance. The school district says they do plan on using this money for activities like monitoring students and reengaging students who have dropped out.   

Contact Lexi Wilson at lwilson@wcnc.com and follow her on FacebookTwitter, and Instagram.

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