Julie Giles, the Georgia mom of an honor roll student, was handcuffed and hauled away for her son’s unexcused absences from school. Now she’s speaking out about what are actually common grounds for arrest.
“When a child is a successful student and they see there’s no abuse or neglect, the parent should be able to write the note,” Julie told People.
Her 10-year-old son, Samuel, is on the honor roll at his middle school and was recently named Student of the Month. She explained he had a difficult bout with a stomach virus during the school year, which led to 12 unexcused absences. Julia brought him to the doctor and ER on different occasions, but capably treated him at home on other days so she wouldn’t have to pay her steep insurance co-pay.
“I’m having a real issue with them telling me that an excuse from his mom isn’t enough,” she said. “It’s like they’re saying you’re not competent to judge if your own flesh and blood is too sick to go to school.”
In the state of Georgia, students are allowed five unexcused absences, plus five absences excused by a parent. William Bland, the superintendent of Samuel’s school district, said Julie was just one of 67 parents investigated by the Sheriff’s Department this year. Eleven more parents were arrested for their children’s absences.
Julie now faces up to seven months in jail and fines, but is getting help from the National Association of Parents, a parents’ rights group. She also has the support of Superintendent Bland, who called Samuel a great student and said Julie’s work as a substitute teacher “has been an asset to the district.”
Do you agree parents should have the authority to excuse their children’s school absences? Or is a doctor’s note always necessary?