A mother in Michigan was arrested after school officials stated “she did nothing to keep her child from missing classes”. School officials noted the six-year-old had a total of 26 unexcused absences.
28-year-old Brittany Horton will have to spend five days in jail, after pleading guilty to a truancy charge in May. The court delayed her punishment to see if she would solve the problem, but instead, her child missed more school.
The Muskegon County Prosecutor, D.J. Hilson, created a program called Operation Graduation to help combat the problem. Officials said Horton failed to respond to several letters sent to her about her daughter’s absence and didn’t go to meetings planned to discuss the absences. Prosecutors released a statement on their decision, stating,
“When parents like Ms. Horton refuse to make reasonable efforts to address the truancy problem, our office is committed to making sure the children of our community are not deprived of an education,”
Although the punishment for the mother might seem harsh, situations like these are more common than we think. Depending on the state, students can be considered truant after one day or up to 10 half-days of unexcused absences. Schools handle minor infraction through warning lets and parent conference to try and fix the problem. But in 40 states, and the District of Columbia, parents can face fines anywhere from $20 to $1500, along with court fees, or short-term imprisonment.
Horton will have to pay $525 in court cost along with her jail time.