DESOTO COUNTY, MS - DeSoto County students go back to school on Thursday, August 4, 2011. When students enter the classroom, educators want to make sure they're all eligible to be there.
"We're the largest school district in the state," says Superintendent Milton Kuykendall. "We'll have over 32,000 students on Thursday, and I just want them to be our kids."
Desoto County's not just Mississippi's largest school district, it's also one of the top performing in the Mid-South. Kuykendall takes his school system seriously and wants to make sure no one is taking advantage of it.
"Before I became superintendent," he says, "you could enroll your kids with a drivers license."
Not anymore. Kuykendall wants proof, and lots of it.
"Today to enroll," he says, "you have to have a copy of a mortgage deed and a current utility bill to match that."
And that's not all.
"You have to have a copy of your DeSoto County car tag receipt," he tells abc24.com.
Kuykendall's hired the manpower to back him up.
"If we're going to have strict policies," he says, "then I want to enforce the policy or I want to do away with it. I have two investigators. They're constantly investigating the car tags and so forth."
With Desoto's school year starting soon, those investigators are keeping busy looking into complaints.
"We've got several now," Kuykendall says. "I can't predict how they'll all come out. We usually accept about two-thirds and reject the other third."
It may sound like a lot of effort, but Kuykendall's thought it out.
"First of all, there's the moral issue of teaching kids to lie," he says. "Second, we'd run out of space in a day if we let everyone come who wanted to come."
And parents agree.
"I do think there needs to be regulation," says DeSoto mom Lindsay Atkinson. "If you're going to go to a certain school, that's important."
If you want to submit an anonymous complaint about a student's residency, you can do so on the school system's website.
Anyone who can't confirm they live in DeSoto County has to go before a residency committee. The county school board has the final say on whether students can attend DeSoto schools.