Washing machines to help improve attendance at St. Louis public schools

ST. LOUIS - Turns out clean clothes can lead to more crowded classes. The St. Louis Public School District is using washing machines to combat attendance problems and the Ethical Society of Police is helping with that effort.

Staffers at Yeatman Liddell Middle School are washing away worries and the program has made a big difference. The Ethical Society of Police says if they can make a positive difference with one student, then it's worth it.

"It's improved attendance 100 percent," said Dr. Leslie Bonner, principal at Yeatman Liddell. "If there is a scholar whose uniform is not clean, we allow them to bring it to school, either myself or a social worker will make sure it's washed and cleaned and ready for them."

The Ethical Society of Police Officers is on a mission to put washers and dryers in schools across the St. Louis Public School District.

"We donated the washing machines and the reception was just great. After that, we made an obligation to donate more to middle schools in the district," said Sgt. Jason Love.

Officers and administrators have found that one of the secrets to improving attendance rates in low-income areas could be as simple as providing laundry machines, after noticing that sometimes kids stay out of schools because they don't have clean clothes.

"If we can do the smallest thing, such as donating a washing machine and dryer, I know the influence it would have over kids, it makes me feel proud," said Sgt. Love.

The R. Whittington Foundation also delivered a washer and dryer to Sumner High School and plans on delivering to other high schools district this school year.

"That's been our creed to give back and help the community as best as we can," said Sgt. Love.

School officials say attendance has picked up in the schools where washer and dryers are in place because more students are comfortable coming to school in clean clothes.