MOBILE, AL July 31 2017
They gave them fair warning, now a week later parents in Mobile County accused of not sending their kids to school are going to jail in some cases.
It's a story the Mobile County Sheriff's Office says has gotten lots of interest. After posting pictures last week of parents wanted for truancy violations, the sheriff's office says so many people were clicking on it that it crashed their server.
Before sharing their pictures on their website and social media, the Mobile County Sheriff's Office says more than 80 parents accused of not sending their kids to school were given plenty of warning.
In the last several days, the sheriff's office has been knocking on doors -- serving truancy warrants.
"We've gone out actively looking. We've put this information out to everybody we've said come take care of this, but now we've been actively looking. We're going to houses picking people up," said Sgt. Joe Mahoney.
Since the truancy round-up started, Sgt. Mahoney says they've cleared 59 cases - of those 19 have settled and paid the fine through the courts. While 39 have been booked into Metro Jail. Eight of them were arrested Thursday.
Mahoney says while serving warrants at a home in Eight Mile, deputies arrested Cayla Hodge and Joshua Booze -- after five children ages 2 to 9 years old -- were allegedly found living in deplorable conditions.
"They discovered these horrendous living conditions - trash piled up all throughout the house, a bathroom you can't imagine," said Sgt. Mahoney.
The case has now been turned over to DHR. Meanwhile, if you're on the list there's still time to turn yourself in and avoid going to jail.
"It's not too late to turn yourself in. If you have a bond, call the bonding company first -- it makes it an easy process. Your bond will be pre-made and you will be in and out. If it's a situation where you just owe a fine to the court to work it out to pay the fine," said Sgt. Mahoney.
Those arrested are facing a charge of "violation of parental responsibility." With school about to start up in less than two weeks -- they say there's an easy way to avoid all of this -- send your kids to school.