Detroit Sneaker Store Offers Free Nikes To Kids Who Show Up For School

October 3 is Student Count Day in Detroit. A headcount will be made of all the kids in school that day, and that figure will be used to determine state and federal funding. It will also earn free sneakers for every student who decides to show up.

According to CBS Detroit, local shoe seller Bob’s Classic Kicks has made a deal with the school district to help entice students into their seats, if only for the one, incredibly important day.

Kids in all grades who show up will get vouchers that can be turned in for a free pair of black leather Nike sneakers.

“[W]e decided since we’ve been in the community for eight years, we wanted to give back to the community, so why not do what we do best — which is shoes,” explained the store’s manager.

That giving back could add up to somewhere in the neighborhood of 17,000 pairs.

But the store’s manager says the cost isn’t the issue because “it’s about educating our kids.”

The CBS story has contact info for anyone wishing to help with the giveaway.


Edit Your Comment

  1. snarfies says:

    Gee, here I was stupid enough to show up to school for free. What a sucker I was!

    • redskull says:

      I showed up for school because I didn’t feel like getting a beatin’ if I didn’t. There were no shoes to be had when I arrived.

    • bdgbill says:

      This is a great way to prepare children for the real world where you get prizes for doing things like showing up for work or brushing your teeth!

      I wonder if this will work as well in school systems that are not as fabulously wealthy as Detroits?

    • Martha Gail says:

      My senior year of high school there was “senior skip” day, which was a holiday that happened the day before prom and was not a real school-sanctioned holiday. In order to combat the entire senior class skipping out, they did drawings for $100 dollar bills. I believe it was one drawn every class period after 3rd (third being homeroom and the first class of the day that everyone was required to attend and where official attendance was taken).

      I showed up to school that day and during each class when they came on the PA system to announce that hour’s winner, I was disappointed I was never called. By the end of the day, I noticed that every name called was a member of StuCo. The damn student council rigged it to make sure THEY were winning the prize.

      There were so many complaints they never did it again.

  2. BrownLeopard says:

    I’m sorry, I think the sunlight hit my tablet and bounced into my eyes which caused them to tear up in response.

    Some faith in humanity restored.

    • Kuri says:

      Same here, considering Nike is highly sought after in today’s highly judgmental school hierarchies.

      • Southern says:

        They won’t be much of a status symbol if *everyone* has a pair. :)

        Helen: Everyone’s special, Dash.
        Dash: Which is another way of saying no one is.

  3. Hi_Hello says:

    The standard has really gone down…. I remember you have to earn honor roll to get some freebies

  4. Coffee says:

    Is anyone else kind of dismayed by this? They’re bribing kids in order to get a count that doesn’t represent reality so that they will get more funding than what they’re realistically entitled to. I hope it’s a trick and when the truant children arrive, they’ll be thrown into the paddywagon and eaten by the Slender Man.

    • Anathema777 says:

      I’m dismayed by the broken system that led to this, but I have a hard time judging the school because of it. Cutting their funding certainly isn’t going to help keep kids in school (let alone help them track down kids who are skipping.)

      The system is ridiculous, “I know that there are 400 kids in the district that should be in this school. But because so many of them aren’t coming in, we’ll only give you funding for 200 students. Oh? Some of those kids might show back up after counting day? Well, just stretch the already trimmed budget to accommodate them. Oh? Large classrooms with little to no one-on-one student-teacher time has led to even more kids falling through the cracks? Well, that’s a shame.”

      • Coffee says:

        You’re certainly correct there, but as you’ve said, when you have to game the system to get the funding that you think you need, you’re treading a fine line. I knew a guy who was supervisor of county road work crews. They had an onsite gas station. When he went to work, he would leave his truck idling. All. Day. Because each year’s gasoline budget was based on the previous year, and he knew that if he ever needed more gas, the money would not be available if it wasn’t already in the budget. So he gamed the system. It was incredibly wasteful, incredibly silly, and not at all grounded in reality. Like this.

        I agree. The system needs to be changed.

        • mianne prays her parents outlive the TSA says:

          I served in the military during peacetime many moons ago. We were among the “combat service support ranks” and generally moved our equipment and ourselves via 2-1/2-5 ton trucks. During one field exercise everyone in our battalion lined up to ride in both an apache and a blackhawk helicopter for about 5-10 minutes each.

          This served absolutely no real purpose. We weren’t going anywhere just landing where we started. The reason for our short excursions was much the same as your truck idling friend. We were allotted a certain amount of air time which was a “use it or lose it’ situation.

          Granted, it was fun, if not a little scary sitting, in the gunner’s seat while the pilot skimmed past the tree tops. But was also very wasteful, by design.

      • kcvaliant says:

        Yea, it is the school and governments fault mommy and/or daddy are not doing their job.

        • brink006 says:

          Well, when there’s a lack of investment in getting the more vulnerable social classes running again as their middle-class jobs disappear and the government takes action to keep the economic status quo in place that just happens to leave those people out of prosperity, yeah, in a way it is the government’s fault.

  5. TheMansfieldMauler says:

    Just goes to show how broken the system is. Give a reward for showing up on the one day they’re going to count for budgetary purposes to get money from the state/fed/whoever.

    Do excellent schools get money? No. Do bad schools get money? No. Do schools that have inventive programs get money? No. Do schools with high (or low) rates of dropouts/college acceptance/pregnancy/ESL/anyothermeasure get money? No.

    None of that matters. What matters is showing up on Counting Day to get your free shoes.

    • pecan 3.14159265 says:

      The system is definitely broken, but a lot of districts have extremely high truancy rates and not enough funding to provide after school programs, tutoring, counseling, or any of the other things that might help a student go to and stay in school and not choose to avoid it. There’s just not enough money.

      • TheMansfieldMauler says:

        I don’t disagree that there’s not enough money for all those programs, but I probably disagree that lack of said programs is what causes or even contributes to truancy.

        Were you ever truant? Did some additional program cause you to not be truant? Or was it something else?

        • Coffee says:

          I think you and I both know that truancy most closely correlates with socioeconomic status. So poor schools in poor areas have the highest rates and, if you’re basing funding on attendance, some of the lowest per capita student spending (especially when you account for property taxes, which, in many states, support local schools).

        • pecan 3.14159265 says:

          I agree that truants usually have other reasons, but there are always some who don’t pay attention in school or don’t see the value in it (at least, enough value to stick around) because they feel like they’re stupid and won’t do well anyway, so they skip school. And if their home life is crap, there’s no one telling them why they need to stay in school or the value of learning. There are teachers who can be an influence for these kids, if there was more funding to explore programs to help some kids who aren’t catching on as easily or have problems at home that make it difficult to learn or stay focused.

          • TheMansfieldMauler says:

            if there was more funding to explore programs to help some kids who aren’t catching on as easily or have problems at home that make it difficult to learn or stay focused

            I’m not going to disagree with that at all, but unfortunately I think there are probably much more fundamental issues to address first, such as just getting butts in seats to begin with. It’s a matter of what’s better for the most kids at the time.

            I’m not privy to the internal workings of the Detroit School System (thank goodness), but I’d be willing to bet that what you’re talking about is a ways down on their list of “stuff we’d spend money on next if we had it”.

        • JJFIII says:

          The question is not what you or anybody else does. I am sure you probably did not come from a single parent household where you were FORCED to have a job to pay rent, eat, or get medicine that might be needed. I am sure at some time you missed a day of school in your life. The fact is if you had the flu and were in the hospital on “count” day, the school would still pay to educate you, without receiving a dime from the state.
          The fact that the state of Michigan set up a half ass system for funding schools to get lower property taxes (while raising our sales tax) is the crime here.

      • samjung23 says:

        Please stop making your sad excuses. It’s a cultural problem, more than anything else.

        • pecan 3.14159265 says:

          Additional funding for schools won’t directly help with the cultural problem at home, but it can provide a safehaven for kids who are susceptible to the problems they face at home.

  6. Miss Malevolent says:

    If it was really about the education, he’d have this be something he’d give out at the end of the year.

    “Those that have the best attendance record throughout the school year receive a voucher for free sneakers”.

    Make sure their butts are in the seat the entire year, and not just for one day.

  7. Darrone says:

    I think back to the Wire. “I already got my day for October” – punk kid.
    “Naw. School is school” – Cutty. Somehow the most badass character despite the fact that he never fires a weapon, and runs after school activities for children.

  8. lyontaymer30 says:

    I would never do that if I was that company. Yeah, it’s nice, but think about the kids you’re rewarding for showing up for one day.

  9. DrPizza says:

    Here’s a thought – if a student has an excessive number of absences, go after the parents for neglect. (Inadequate supervision.) Hit the parents in the pocket book and perhaps the parents would start taking on THEIR responsibility of ensuring that their kids get to the school in the morning. It’s appalling to realize that so many parents care so little about their children that they don’t even make an attempt to see that their kids get the free education that they deserve.

    • Deep Cover says:

      That is not a good thought (and shows your lack of understanding of Detroit as a whole). First and foremost, how are you going to “hit a parent in the pocketbook” when there is NO POCKETBOOK??? Parents in the D don’t give a DAMN about a fine. If you have ever been in the court system of any large, inner city, you would know that the judge typically reduces any court imposed fine because of an inability to pay. If you do the math it is cheaper to reduce the fine than to throw the person in jail (oops…or did you forget,the jail is ALREADY FULL of people who have committed far greater crimes than not paying a fine). Remember, truancy rules are already on the books for the parents and they still don’t care. That is why the schools are trying to hit them with the carrot (read: free shoes)…because the stick isn’t working.

    • brink006 says:

      Regressive fiscal policy is always a big hit amongst privileged, low-information people. Thanks for continuing to tow that line.

    • Pagan wants a +1 button says:

      They tried that here. It started out as one of those “fabulous ideas” that would keep kids in school and force the deadbeat parents to be accountable.

      Except for the part where they forgot that they didn’t differentiate between excused and unexcused absences, nor was there any provision for things like doctor’s notes. So we had kids who have actual, honest-to-god illnesses that require a lot of medical care getting suspended for missing too much school and parents being cited for neglect. Because these same folks who are educating our children aren’t intelligent enough to actually *think*.

  10. SilverBlade2k says:

    When I was going to school, you were rewarded with something at the end of the year for good grades.

    Now they are handing out stuff just for showing up.

    It’s almost as bad as little-league sports these days, where everyone gets a trophy just for playing, regardless if you win the championship or not..

  11. lovemypets00 - You'll need to forgive me, my social filter has cracked. says:

    Well, this fits in nicely with the “let’s pay kids to go to school” mentality. What ever happened to compulsory education, with your ass in the chair unless you were home sick? Just how entitled does a kid have to feel that they won’t go to school unless someone pays them? Really?

    Can’t wait to see how much that raises school taxes in those areas.

    • Coffee says:

      This is Detroit we’re talking about…I’m guessing it’s less about entitlement and more about not giving a shit because your parents don’t care and school is just a prison where you have to spend time before you go to adult prison.

  12. Ashman says:

    So lets see. Get the kids to show up, the school district gets the max funding, the kids get free sneakers, but in reality not all of those kids who showed up will actually attend school.

    So how is this not a type of fraud against the goverment. They are essentially bribing kids to show up on the day the government does a head count in order to approve the funding.

    Sounds like fraud to me.

    • amylynn1022 says:

      No, it’s not fraud. It’s a crappy system that the administrators have to play to get what is probably an inadequate amount of money. If you budget at work was based on your department’s attendance for one day out of the year you would probably be doing things a lot more foolish to get bodies in the door. (My employer frequently offers cash bonuses for attendance during our rush periods.)

      Actually, in my experience the higher the stakes the more desperate the behavior, all the way to unethical and illegal. Usually the way you fix it is to lower the stakes–make attendance a part but not the be-all, end-all for funding, for example.

      In the school system I attended the money was based on attendance, but it was for all days of the school year–if your attendance fell below a certain point your school got docked. There was some slight gaming–they let the senior take their finals a week earlier than everyone else but made them spend the last week of school coming in every morning for an hour or two of “graduation practice” so we could be counted as present. The first day or two they did have us practice lining up and marching in but the rest of the week we lined up, checked in and were out of there in less than an hour. It wouldn’t have been that big a deal except that I had to drive downtown and find parking for this silliness. I think by Friday most of us were cutting.

  13. Press1forDialTone says:

    That shoe store manager is a doofus.
    The kids will come for the one day, get their sneaks
    and they is gone, baby, gone.

    Kids who don’t show up for no valid reason
    have been taught that education is not a valuable
    thing and to think only about the “right now”.
    They won’t go and it takes a huge amount of
    work to reverse that damage if it can ever be

    • brink006 says:

      Again, like I mentioned in a previous comment, everyone only thinks of “right now.” Yes, you are probably guilty of this as well. The majority of adults on this planet are poor at thinking about the future. You’re free to Google the various, numerous studies that show this.

  14. LuvChikFilA says:

    The bigger issue here is that Nike shoes are awful. Adidas always has and always will make better shoes and gear. They don’t have Michael Jordan whoring them out so the marketplace will always belong to the swoosh. But they stink

    Saucony and Asiscs are also better

  15. Robert Nagel says:

    Somehow, somewhere the store owner is going to get compensated for this. The school system can’t do it, but I guarantee that they have employed an intermediary who will see to it that he gets the money for the shoes, and a profit, as soon as the state money comes in and thing settle down.

  16. MBZ321 says:

    This just has “trouble” written all over it.
    So students will show up on that one day just to get the free sneaker voucher.
    17,000 kids will then proceed to the store and then be “disappointed” when they realize they are only for the basic Nike sneakers and not the Air Jordans….then cue one giant flash mob madhouse.

    • brink006 says:

      Can you see the future or something? How will you be held accountable when this doesn’t happen and your dog-whistle racism/classism doesn’t hold true. Will you publicly apologize?

  17. Fafaflunkie Plays His World's Smallest Violin For You says:

    I’m sure college athletes would be given a strict boot up the ass and out of their school if they were to take this bribe…err…enticement to show up to class. What makes this any different? And where did the Detroit school board get this kind of coin for the shoes? Oh, I know, they took it from the funding that would have went to, I dunno, demolishing all those abandoned buildings that look as if they’ve been hit by nuclear bombs?

  18. samjung23 says:

    From what my teacher friends tell me, it’s time to stop spending government money on schools. Make these kids and their parents pay for their own education. Furthermore, stop forcing them to go if they don’t want to be there. Stop using our tax payer dollars to babysit these kids. If they don’t want to come to school, or behave properly, let them stay home and find a job. It’s ridiculous. There’s so much money that the taxpayers could save, it isn’t funny.

    • brink006 says:

      Uhhhhhhh… education has a high correlation with social mobility (a real meritocracy!) and future earnings? “Free” education for everyone regardless of class, race, or creed is one of the basic building blocks of our culture?

      I’m glad you think that a bunch of people should be mentally hamstrung for the rest of their lives because they didn’t like school at age 7 or because their family is impoverished and constantly fighting external forces. And though the majority of charter schools generally don’t perform any better or worse than equivalent public schools in spite of being able to rig the system to cherry pick the best students, I guess you’d still be a fan of charter schools after reading my comment because that doesn’t vibe with your worldview.

      This comment is ridiculous and you’re a monster.

      • samjung23 says:

        It’s ridiculous because the media and the government have brainwashed you to think so. Honestly, if these kids don’t want to be there and are choosing not to learn anything, what is the point? Is it smart to waste money on them? Look at it as a piece of machinery that is not useful to a factory anymore. If it can be put to better use elsewhere, then why not relocate it? My friends tell me what sorts of grades these kids are getting, and their behavior issues. It’s time America admits defeat and just gives up on these kids! When people get anything for free, they stop appreciating it. Let’s keep the kids that value an education, and send the rest packing so teachers can do their jobs and schools stop being war zones! The ridiculous progressive idealism towards the education system has been a failure.

        I’ve visited one of the schools that my friend teaches at. He wasn’t kidding. It’s a waste of time educating 75% of the kids there, and that’s generous. The school is paying a lot of money for metal detectors, security guards and for repairs and maintenance because the kids destroy the place. It’s ugly. Problem is, most progressives are comfortable in their well-off areas and don’t see this madness. It is madness.

        Detroit needs to bribe kids to come to school? Remember back in the days when parents struggled to be able to send their kids to school? It was a luxury, but it was VALUED, and that’s the way it needs to be again. That’s the only way people will respect anything, and that’s unfortunate to say.

        • brink006 says:

          I’m not being mean when I ask this, but do you have aspergers or are you a high-functioning autistic? The ease of which you compare young students to machinery is disturbing to say the least.

          Have you ever talked to anybody who does academic research in these fields? Like, someone with an Urban Studies Master’s or a Sociologist? You should try bringing up some of your ideas to one of those people sometime, or maybe a counselor if you think that the answer to strife is to jettison the current bottom 20% of our society.

          • samjung23 says:

            No, I just talk to real people that deal with this garbage everyday, and I’ve seen it firsthand. The American school system is a failure in our lower-income inner cities because the students and parents there, don’t want an education. The media does a really good job of covering this up. I mean, my friend showed me the grade reports for every class he had. There were about 3-4 kids per class with D’s, C’s and above, the rest had ZEROS. ZEROS! Out of 30 kids! And times this by 5!

            Why are we still wasting time and money on this failure? I wouldn’t force tacos on people that want hamburgers!

            • brink006 says:

              Well, I’m glad you’d be willing to live by your own individual experiences and voraciously state your opinions based on those experiences instead of researching any academic journals that publish information on this subject. Good for you!

              • samjung23 says:

                I’ve read a couple. They’re a complete joke. The people who write them, are charlatans. It’s like reading a librarians conclusions about the state of nuclear power in the world. The academics have no idea what they’re talking about, and have their own warped political agendas.

        • pecan 3.14159265 says:

          What you’re suggesting is that we as a society simply give up on people who may just be on a different pace than others, or who have mental, emotional, and physical difficulties. Basically, you’re talking about social eugenics.

          • samjung23 says:

            They don’t want an education!!!! They’re not like people from the suburbs! They don’t value it! Sure, say, out of 500 kids in a school, perhaps 50 want to be there. Let them get an education. The rest can go fly a kite. Let me assure you, they DON’T want to be there. That’s the long and short of it. Get real.

  19. brink006 says:

    So many people here are outraged, but compare that to the number of people who see this issue and want to make progressive steps to reform public school funding, discover how to best use incentive-based systems to improve school results, and solve the systemic poverty that has a strong correlation with poor school performance and student performance?

    Anybody? Huh. Odd.

  20. flychinook says:

    Free shoes for those who go to school.
    Employment opportunities for those who don’t.


  21. TBGBoodler says:

    How is this “gaming” the system? These are not kids who will be coming from a different school district, to load the numbers. These are kids who are enrolled in the school. Funding should come from enrollment, not attendance.

  22. rgf207 says:

    I can’t grasp this whole movement where we reward students for doing what they are supposed to do. If I didn’t show up for school, I got an an ass whopin’. Schools cater to the idiots that don’t give a shit about education which, in turn, hurts the ones that do. We dumb everything down so the stupid kids can still not give a shit.

    My wife is a teacher and you would not believe what the schools do nowadays. I kid you not, last year they paid a kid $125 to take the state assessment test. He refused so they paid him. I don’t understand why we don’t let the idiots work themselves out of the system. Darwin’s law works.

    I always say “We will always need someone to scoop our fries” so why not let them fail so we can keep the ones that care

    • brink006 says:

      Perfect avatar picture there, buddy.

      Anyway, the reason we shouldn’t just let people fail is that a person shouldn’t be left helpless for an entire lifetime because they were a difficult child or their needs weren’t properly identified. And I could go on a lot more about why your statement is cruel and the worst parts of “bootstraps” parroting rhetoric, but I mean, you’re not really saying anything of substance here.

      • samjung23 says:

        @brink006, you simply have no idea what goes on in a bad school district. It’s not just like the school you went to in the suburbs.

    • rdm says:

      “I kid you not, last year they paid a kid $125 to take the state assessment test. He refused so they paid him.”

      So did they pay him to take it, or to NOT take it?

    • samjung23 says:

      That’s the only way my friend. The only people that defend the failing school districts, are the people that went to good school districts and have no idea what a failing one is like. The kids and parents in these areas are the ones stopping themselves from getting an education, because of their morals and values. It has nothing to do with socioeconomic status. East Indians, South Koreans and Filipinos often come from impoverished backgrounds but succeed in the US. If these kids can afford new sneakers and clothes everyday, then certainly, they don’t have financial issues!.

  23. Bob A Dobalina says:

    They did this in Detroit? Soon we will be reading about how many people were hurt in the riot at the shoe store