Haralson County School officials and the Haralson County Chief Magistrate Judge are making extra efforts to crack down on the system’s truancy problem; and, some local parents are already paying the price for their kids having an inordinate amount of unexcused absences.
“Our main concern here is that parents are not taking the responsibility to put their children on the school bus or take their kids to school,” Chief Magistrate Judge Brandon Heath told WLBB Radio.
Heath says the reasons behind committing truancy differ with each case, but for his first hearing on Friday, he says the parents simply “were not looking out for the best interest of their children.”
“In this case, it was something that had been recurring. It was not the fault of the children, This family was neglecting their job of getting these kids their education,” Heath said. “As a matter of fact, these children loved to come to school. They liked to fit in— and their parents were not being responsible enough to get them to their schools.”
Heath says the penalty for an initial truancy offense includes incarceration.
“There is a warrant issued for their arrest. They’ll be put in the Haralson County Jail,” he said. “They are forfeiting a hundred-dollar cash bond, to start with. If they get back on the right track and that student comes to school on time and without an unexcused absence, they can get the bond back.”
Heath says behind the new initiative are only looking to help the students. He says the parents involved have the opportunity to fix the issue. “If we can get them back on the straight and narrow, the students will benefit, the parents will benefit, the schools will benefit…” he said. “All we are wanting to do is better the community and better the lives of the children in this community.”