Mom Arrested, Shackled Over Son's Unexcused School Absences
A Georgia mother and substitute teacher says she was arrested and placed in shackles because of her son's unexcused absences.
Julie Giles reportedly wrote on Facebook that a warrant had been issued for her arrest after her son tallied 12 unexcused absences from school.
The total is six more than the Screven County school district allows. Giles argued that her son's doctor re-issued a note for three of the absences, meaning she would be arrested over a total of three absences.
Giles said she was briefly placed in ankle shackles, with police saying it was normal procedure. She was released and given a court date in July, but faces jail time.
Giles said her son is an A and B student, but often misses school because of illness. Due to higher copays than she can afford, she said sometimes she must keep her children home without being able to get a doctor's note.
Screven County Schools Superintendent, William Bland, says this is not unusual, that they are following the law, and that "several" parents have already been convicted in these situations this school year, after not being able to work out a solution with school officials.
"It's important for these children to be in school and I think the courts recognize that," said Bland.
UPDATE: Giles talked to Steve Doocy about the truancy case Friday morning, explaining that her son was sick on the days of the three absences in question.
Giles described what happened on the day of her arrest.
"Actually I was not fingerprinted, but I was shackled and they took my mug shot, which will be in our local newspaper."
Superintendent William Bland said referring a case to the court is "always a last resort." Bland said that the district's attendance rules are within the guidelines of state law and parents are granted "multiple opportunities" to work with school officials to avoid a case going to the court system.
Giles said she had a meeting with school administrators in January after the fifth absence, but there had not been any other contact from the school since.
She said she has spoken with officials in surrounding counties and was told they do not handle truancy cases in this way. Giles said the family now plans to move out of Screven County.
Watch the interview above.