Skipping School Could Spell Jail Time

By: Adam Vasallo
By: Adam Vasallo

Along with a new school year comes a new state law that could land truant students and their parents in court.

Georgia's new law says each county must have a plan that penalizes the student, and if need be, their parent, when school absences pile up.

Teresa Clark, a parent, says, "It's the parents’ job to stick behind them if they want them to be successful. If you want to be successful, you got to stand behind them. You got to stay in school."

Thomas County schools are back in session, and their plan to attack the truancy problem is in place.

Woody Thompson, a social worker with Thomas County schools, says, "It's something that we really want to work with parents on, collaborate with other agencies to make sure we can promote regular attendance."

In Thomas County after five unexcused absences, the DA's office will step in, decide who's at fault and if any legal action needs to be taken.

Jim Hardy of the Southern Judicial Circuit in Thomasville says, "Then they can be held criminally liable for their conduct and the penalty can be $25 to $100 a day for each absence or up to 30 days in jail."

But legal action is the last resort.

The district attorney's office says their goal is the same as Georgia lawmakers to keep Peach State students in school.

Thomas County students with a driver’s license can also have their license suspended after 10 unexcused absences under the county's new plan.


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