On Monday morning, the Supreme Court of Georgia upheld the state's mandatory education statute in Pitts v. The State.
The statute holds parents and guardians responsible for sending their children to school. According to the case summary Channell Pitts' son had nine unexcused absences; in the county she lived in her child was only allowed to have five. Each additional absence is treated as a separate offenses.
Pitts challenged the statute after she was convicted of misdemeanor violations of the law and sentenced to three months probation.
FOX 31 spoke to officials with the Tift County School System who said they have several programs set up so that something like this doesn't go as far as this case did.
At Tift County High School, each student is allowed up to seven unexcused absences, after this they go to what's called an attendance hearing. If the student and his parents/guardians can't come up with a legitimate reason for the absences, then the student will not receive class credit and will have to take the class over.
Dr. Gina Cox, the director of student services for Tift County Schools, said when they notice a student accruing unexcused absences they make sure school counselors are checking in with the student and parents to see what's going on. Cox said one of the things they do that they've seen the most success with is offering incentives for students to come to school; this could simply mean having an adult to mentor the student and check up on them in the morning and throughout the day.