Hoover Councilman calls for jail time, fines for parents who "illegally enroll" children in schools

Hoover City Councilman Gene Smith (

Hoover City Councilman Gene Smith wants to crack down on what he views as a major problem facing the city's school system: illegally-enrolled children. Smith says he has learned that as many as 600 students, who don't actually live within city limits, are attending city schools.{}Smith presented an ordinance Thursday to the City Council with stiff penalties for parents who violate state law against falsifying documents. Those penalties include parents having to pay up to $500 in fines or spend up to six months in jail. {}But not everyone agrees that there are hundreds of students in this situation. Some parents tell ABC 33/40 the school district makes home visits and there is a strict proof of residency policy.Smith says sources, including teachers, gave him the information regarding the number of students."But does it matter if there are 10 or 1,000? People who don't live in the city don't need to have their children going to Hoover City Schools," Smith said.School Spokesperson Jason Gaston released the following statement to ABC 33/40:{}"Our Student Services Division works diligently throughout the year to assist families with enrollment in Hoover City Schools, including residency verification - which can sometimes be a gray area. Much of this gray area relates to "second-party residences" where a family moves in with a current Hoover resident for a variety of reasons - and the family moving in does not have a lease, deed, property or utilities in its name. Second-party enrollments are common practices in school systems; this is a legal path to student enrollment. Currently, our system has approximately 600 such cases. If for some reason an enrollment is suspected to be fraudulent, our Student Services Division investigates. This week, two such cases are under investigation. If a family is found not to be legal residents of Hoover, their children must withdraw from the school system."Smith wants other council members to consider his ordinance {}and adopt it by November.For more information on Hoover's attendance, residency requirements: visit with ABC 33/40 for more on this developing story.