Our United Voice

What Would YOU Say to a Kid Who Wants to Drop Out of School?

Monday, September 29, 2014

By Melody Murphy

Recently, I came across an excellent blog post for teachers entitled, 6 Things to Say to Kids at Risk of Dropping Out. It presents responses to students that teachers can use to help guide a student back on the path towards high school graduation. According to this post, some of the typical statements students make when considering dropping out are:

1. "I'm suspended for a week, so I guess it's my vacation."
2. "I don't fit in here anyway."
3. "I didn't make it in today."
4. "I'm failing three classes. This is BS."
5. "My life is too crazy right now."
6. "I just can't be here anymore."

The suggested replies are wonderful and I know there are many great teachers who are faced with these situations every school year.

It got me thinking, though, especially with September being Attendance Awareness Month, what would I say to a child who told me he or she no longer wanted to go to school? What would you say? 

My family and I volunteer with young kids who have few or no caring family members in their lives and some of them do struggle in school, but they want to learn. They also want to go to school, make friends and enjoy their childhoods. But I know as they grow older, there's a chance they might feel or state some of the things above, and because of their circumstances, quitting school might be considered.

Dropping out of school is a devastating decision for a student to make. Why? We know that kids who don't graduate high school on time are FOUR TIMES as likely to end up in prison or on welfare. That's right, 75% of prisoners don't have a high school diploma.

This year, 1,200+ kids in our community will drop out. If statistics hold true, that's close to 900 more prisoners who should have been in the Class of 2015 but are future inmates.

That's why I love that one of Metro United Way's community aspirations is that all youth will graduate high school on-time, ready for college, career and life. We're working hard to make sure kids stay in school and become career and college ready through various partnerships and programs, specifically out-of-school (OST) programs, like the one I volunteer with.

More important than what can we say to youth at risk for dropping out, what can we DO? 

Right now there are 23 volunteer opportunities to help struggling students in our community through some of our OST partnerships. Join me in investing in kids in our community and let's do our part to make sure they all graduate high school, on time!

Melody Murphy joined the Metro United Way marketing staff in 2012 and is currently Senior Manager, Digital Engagement where she manages all online engagement.

Her career began in bank marketing, and then she spent 11 years with a local advertising agency before deciding to work with non-profits including Blessings in a Backpack, Northeast Christian Church, and Legal Aid Society.

Melody’s is a graduate of the University of Louisville School of Business and loves the letter “L” for several reasons: the Louisville community, The Louisville Cardinals, her husband Logan, and her favorite slogan: Live, Laugh, Love.  She has three kids – Nate – 17, Lily 16, Eva – 10 and two stepdaughters – Raven –11 , Baylee – 7.


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