12 OYS: District drops the ball; kicks kids out of school, says grandmom

A woman is telling News 12  how her grandchildren are sitting at home instead of in the classroom. She said they were kicked out on Monday after school officials told her she needed to show proof she had custody. An On Your Side investigation uncovered how the Richmond County Schoold District may have dropped the ball by not knowing Georgia law.

(WRDW-TV)

News 12 at 6 o'clock / August 13, 2014

AUGUSTA, Ga. (WRDW) -- Inez Heggie wants the world for her grandchildren, but 7-year-old Naki and 9-year-old Isaiah are not learning anything the first week of school.

"I want them to have an education... a good education," Heggie said. "One of the grandkids was crying, and said why. I said why? Because simply I'm not your mother."

She said the principal at Roy E. Rollins Elementary School sent them home until she can prove she has custody.

"I need that court paper. It's in the courts in Maryland. It's in the courts and I explained that," Heggie said.

For now, her only proof are two expired documents from a Maryland court. Heggie said they show her daughter gave her consent to custody 4 years ago. The same papers Heggie said she used the last two years to register her grandkids in Richmond County schools.

"If I keep them out of school, I'm going to jail so now what? I'm not keeping them out of school. The system is keeping them out of school," Heggie said.

The district said according to the principal "the grandparent was told last year to provide some sort of documentation that she had custody of the children. She did not...Generally speaking, when we have children come to our system from out of state to live with someone, we try to get some sort of documentation that the out of town parent has given permission for the person here to act as the parent."

"Why can't they go to school? I want to know. Just like you do. Do you understand it? They've been in school 2 years. Do you understand it?," Heggie said.

According to Georgia Legal Services, all children living in Georgia have the right to register to go to public school on the day an adult tries to enroll them. It also says, "a third-party adult having physical custody of a child for a legitimate purpose may enroll the child in school without obtaining legal guardianship or custody over the child."

"I have every right to put them in school," Heggie said.

Late Wednesday afternoon, Heggie called On Your Side and confirmed that she went to the school and this time they did not ask for any proof of custody. Naki and Isaiah will be back in class on Thursday.

We do not know how or why the district did not know this Georgia school registration law.


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