wjxt logo

Georgia parents arrested for not sending children to school, police say

Ryan & Stephanie Cain face 4 counts of mandatory education for kids ages 6 to 16

ST. MARYS, Ga. – Two parents were arrested Monday for not sending their four children to school, the St. Marys Police Department said. 

Ryan and Stephanie Cain are both facing four misdemeanor counts of mandatory education for children between ages 6 and 16.

Police said the couple allowed all four of their children to miss a lot of school days for no legitimate reason. 

“They’re required to attend some sort of school, and if they fail to attend school -- whether it be private, home school or public school -- they would be in violation of this law," said Lt. Shannon Brock. 

In this case, police said, the couple violated the law from 2005 through this school year. During that time, Crooked River Elementary said the couple's four children have racked up a combined total of 81 unexcused absences from school and 117 unexcused tardies.

According to police, arresting parents is a last resort when the school leaders have exhausted all other means of resolving the problem.

On Feb. 9, police said, Shannon Cain was ordered to go before the school board and she signed an attendance agreement, guaranteeing her children would regularly attend class.

“Since that attendance agreement was signed on Feb. 9, we’ve had eight days of unexcused absences and an additional five days of tardies for each of the children,” Brock said. 

News4Jax went to the mother's home Wednesday, but the person who answered said, "Can you please stop knocking on my door? I'm not interested in whatever it is."

The Department of Family Services will normally come in and remove the children from the home and place them with other relatives, according to police. But in this case, it's unclear whether that's what happened. 

Investigators said the parents told school officers that their children were either not in class or tardy because the family didn't have a working alarm clock. 

Brock said this violation is so rare that this is only the fourth time he's seen a parent arrested on that charge within the last four years. 

About the Author:

Award-winning broadcast and multimedia journalist with 20 years experience.