Multiple Jackson County parents arrested for kids' school absences

Multiple Jackson County parents arrested for kids' school absences
(Source: WAFF)

JACKSON COUNTY, AL (WAFF) - Authorities are throwing moms and dads in jail in Jackson County. It's a different lesson on education.

Deputies are rounding up parents who aren't sending their kids to school. So far, eight people have been arrested. They include 52-year-old Gaynette Crabtree Jenkins of Woodville, 34-year-old Audrey Elizabeth Rozell of Paint Rock, 62-year-old Jerry Ledale Dixon of Pisgah, 43-year-old Andrea Reneea Newsom of Princeton, 51-year-old Susanne Flatt of Henagar, 34-year-old Amanda Devor of Fackler, 35-year-old Jennifer Brand Stevenson of Scottsboro, and 40-year-old Amanda Mashburn Young of Dutton. All are currently out of jail on $300 bond.

Eight is just a start. Sheriff's officials say they've still got forty or more to serve.

"I think a lot of people really don't think people go to jail for that, but it's the law," said Rhonda Wheeler, Jackson County Schools student services director.

Wheeler says it never should get to this point. Wheeler says students are given five unexcused absences before having to meet with school officials about those absences.

When it reaches seven, then parents are referred to the Jackson County Early Warning Prevention Program, which involves juvenile probation officers.

Don't think truancy is a problem? Wheeler says by the end of the school year they'll have around 85 parents in that program.

But if truancy continues to be a problem, Wheeler says it then becomes a criminal offense and parents get arrested.

"I hate for any parent to go to jail. I do. But we're going to do what's right for kids. Every child deserves someone at home that understands that it's important to go to school and that being at school every day is important. A child that has someone in the home that believes that is a blessed child," said Wheeler.

Sheriff's officials urge any parent who believes they may have a warrant out for them to turn themselves in to the Jackson County Jail.

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