Parents jailed in school truancy crackdown
The Atlanta Journal-Constitution
Wednesday, September 17, 2008
A DeKalb County crackdown on school truancy has begun with the jailing of nine parents.
The parents were arrested Tuesday and appeared in jail uniforms Wednesday morning before Chief Recorders Court Judge R. Joy Walker to have bonds set.
Solicitor General Robert James said Tuesday’s sweep by representatives of his office, the district attorney, sheriff’s office and county police began as an effort to arrest 59 people who have not complied with earlier orders to get their children to school regularly or to participate in diversion programs.
“If children are not in school, teachers cannot teach,” James said.
Parents can be charged with educational neglect when a child has more than five unexcused absences in a school year. James said his office offers a diversion program for parents of children who exceed the limit and typically does not take a parent to court until there are at least 12 unexcused absences.
He said most of the parents who now face arrest have children who have missed 40 to 50 days of school.
James recently offered parents facing educational neglect charges two “amnesty days” to meet with authorities and avoid arrest. He said 39 parents responded to that offer.