Tuesday, May 26, 2015

GA Mother is Arrested on Truancy Warrant when Honor Roll Son has 3 Unexcused Absences ~ Call Michael A. Haber, Esq. @ 1-888-SHARK-8-1

Take a look at the caption on the image below....

In this inane instance, Julie Giles of Sylvania, GA (pictured below) had a warrant issued for her arrest and was subsequently physically booked because her honor roll fourth (4th) grade student son was accused of having too many unexcused absences at school. I've read several articles on this matter and have concluded that this really pisses me off, and not just because I too have a fourth (4th) grade student son (who admittedly is not on the Honor Roll as he got a single, lonely "C" in one (1) class during one (1) grading period this school year) but also because I am a parent who keeps my kid out of school when in my judgment he presents a risk of infection to his classmates (a trait which, sadly, precious few parents exhibit as they flagrantly and discourteously send their snot dripping, virus spewing, lice ridden and stomach flu infested kids to school).

Anyhow, on Saturday, May 9th, 2015, Julie received a certified letter from the Screven County Elementary School, where her ten (10) y/o son Sam was alleged to have had twelve (12) unexcused absences, which is six (6) more than is permitted by the school.  The letter indicated that there was a warrant for Julia's arrest because of the excessive unexcused absences.  Julie, who coincidentally works at that very same school as a substitute teacher, was shocked, and so she turned to social media to vent.

After receiving her "day-before-Mother's-Day" letter of imminent arrest Julie posted her thoughts on her Facebook page (which can be viewed here).  Julie wrote:  "Sam has had 6 more unexcused absences (an absence without a doctor’s note) than the county allows per year this year... I received a certified letter Saturday about this issue and [my husband] Keith contacted the [Board of Education] on my behalf yesterday while I worked subbing. I have been notified that a warrant for my arrest will most likely be issued... My family’s doctor has written a character reference for me, and I have the support of many [Board of Education] employees, but at the moment it still appears I will be arrested... If the Sheriff and the Attendance Officer moves forward I will be given the opportunity to turn myself in. I spoke to a county employee yesterday that says arrest IS likely... As all of you know, my boys being sick often is nothing new. Their NP jokes that the practice should be cutting me a paycheck, but the truth is l cannot afford a copay every single time they are sick, but I never want to send them to school when they feel bad or could possibly get others sick... I have NEVER been in trouble before in my life and the boys are beside themselves. We need prayer! I know that God is good and is with me in all things!!" Then, after having voluntarily surrendered herself, been booked and released Julie wrote on Facebook: "I am home. I was actually placed in ankle shackles!! I was told that doing so is procedure. I was respectful and followed directions. Sheriff Mike Kile allowed me to leave after being booked and photographed without having to call a bondsman. I will call tomorrow to get my court date. Thanks for the support!".   In a later interview with Fox News (which can be seen here) Julie further stated that:  "Six absences are allowed, and a doctor wrote a note explaining three of the other absences [meaning she was being arrested for her son missing school three times]" and that her son, a fourth (4th) grader, "is on the honor roll and has four A's and four B's in his classes".  Julie further stated that she had been called in by the school's administration in January after her son's fifth (5th) absence but that she had not heard back from them since that time.  Me, I find that outrageous.

In response, Screven County Schools Superintendent, William Bland, stood by the school's decision, reportedly stating that the policy was "important to make sure that children are attending school".  He also reportedly revealed that several parents had already been convicted under the policy with punishments ranging from a monetary fine to actual time behind bars.  In doing some light research on Florida's truancy laws I came across a 2014 article (which can be viewed here) about a similar warrant sweep in the Jacksonville area, and that led me to Florida Statute 1003.26 (which can be viewed here) which sets out a relatively detailed (and seemingly reasonable) "pre-criminal justice system involvement" process including but not limited to REQUIRED (caps intentional) notice, being offered "help" at the school level system, then again at the school district level and then arbitration, all of which are necessary steps prior to seeking the State Attorney's involvement and commencing the criminal process. Apparently, but not surprisingly, our sister State to the North (GA) is slightly more retarded in it's approach.

Memo to Screven County Schools Superintendent, William Bland:  

Wtf is wrong with you people?  Do you not think before you act?  If I were a GA licensed lawyer I'd represent Julie, Keith and Sam Giles pro bono in their extremely viable civil lawsuit for damages against an incompetent school board which, in it's best defense, is merely - albeit negligently - enforcing an incompetent law.  The woman works at your school.  No one followed up in between absences five (5) and twelve (12).  The explanation is not only plausible but is also both reasonable and responsible.  The child is a well-adjusted (seemingly anyhow) honor student (that part is beyond reproach).  Look at the pictures below and then tell me how it is that mom needs to be arrested, stigmatized, branded, prosecuted and criminalized?

Do the good taxpayers of Screven County, GA a favor and get a freaking clue. And while you are at it get yourself a life and exercise your responsibility as a school superintendent with some modicum of rationality.  You are absolutely correct that there are parents out there who need to be punished for effectively destroying their kid's shot at a decent life and a future by ignoring the importance of education... but Julie, Keith and Sam Giles clearly do not fall into this category.  In case you, Screven County Schools Superintendent William Bland, missed it, once again...

Since 1991 Michael A. Haber, P.A. has been creatively, effectively and zealously representing clients, both juvenile and adult, in both State and Federal Courts, in criminal cases ranging from DUI to drug trafficking and from misdemeanors to first degree murder.

At Michael A. Haber, P.A. "Its all about reasonable doubt"! 

Michael A. Haber, Esq. is prepared to speak with you about your case!

Cell: 305-798-2220; Office: 305-381-8686; Toll Free: 1-888-SHARK-8-1


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