Parents can go to jail if kids skip school

Photo Credit: Allen Carter

Officials in Dougherty County are aggressively attacking truancy this school year, and they're not just targeting students.

If a student is absent from class they may get punished with suspension. But their parents could end up in jail.

it won't be long before summer break is over for thousands of students. That means back on school buses; back in classrooms.

"August first is the first day of school in the Dougherty County School System and we have traditionally had a problem the last few years with students not coming to class on the first day," said R.D. Harter of DCSS.

Last year it was 25 percent of students who didn't show up for the first day of classes.

"That means 75 percent of our students show up the first day, we applaud them and that's what we need you to do. Otherwise we re-teach over the first two to three weeks of class to kids who come in late," said Harter.

Most everyone knows that students can get in trouble if they cut class, but parents need to also be aware because if their kids don't show up to school, they can end up behind bars.

"The penalty for having unexcused absences from school could be as much as 30 days in jail for each day and up to a $100 fine for each day," said Dougherty County District Attorney Greg Edwards.

It works similar to parole parents can be called before a board to explain why their kids have missed school.

The goal isn't to throw people in jail, but to get the student back into class.

"Of course, if there is a failure to adhere to the remedies that are devised of course prosecution and jail and fines are our option and we have done that and we will do that, but the more important issue is getting the child to school. And that is what we are trying to achieve," said Edwards.