ATLANTA -- It didn't take long for Atlanta Public School officials to realize something was wrong.
Last year, Grady High School faced over-enrollment. During the APS redistricting process, planners redrew the lines around Grady to reduce the number of incoming students. So when classes began in August, officials were expecting a smaller freshman class than in 2011-2012.
Instead, 100 more students showed up on the first day of school.
"We're usually pretty good with our enrollment projections," APS spokesman Keith Bromery told 11Alive. "So when that number showed up the first week of school, we knew something was amiss."
APS officials believe the problem is fraudulent enrollment: parents lying about their address so their children can attend the school.
Last week, APS sent letters home with Grady students, informing parents that the district will begin an audit of enrollment records, including enrollment affidavits.
"The enrollment affidavits signed during enrollment and registration verify under oath that the information provided is true and correct," the letter read.
It then goes on to list possible penalties for false information, including a $1000 fine, prosecution and criminal liability or up to ten years in prison.
Bromery said the letter serves as a warning, allowing parents to withdraw their child and enroll him or her in the proper school without penalty. Once there, parents can apply for a transfer back to Grady, if desired.
APS is calling on other parents to help catch fraudulent enrollment. The district has set up an email address and phone number to accept anonymous reports.
Bromery said it hurts the district when one school is too full, because it means reallocating and removing resources from schools with fewer students.
Once the investigation begins, APS may bring in case-workers or private detectives to help out. Once discovered, Bromery said, parents would have to foot the bill on those costs.