For those of you who think things like “medical neglect” or “educational neglect” are nothing more than watch words cooked up by CPS to find new ways to interfere in a parent’s choices, you couldn’t be more wrong. Both of these issues do in fact exist, and as this recent news story reveals, you can actually end up behind bars for failing to send your child to school!
According to numerous media sources around Michigan, a young Muskegon mother has recently been sentenced to spend several days behind bars for repeatedly refusing to send her 6-year-old child to school. According to both the prosecutor and the school district, they have done everything possible to help the mother, and have repeatedly given her ways to avoid prosecution, to no avail.
How does missing school translate into jail time?
So how did it happen? Well, District Attorney Timothy Maat says that Amanda McEntaffer was offered help over and over, and she rebuffed every offer, making no effort whatsoever to solve the problem or address the issue. It started when the school district reached out to her because her child had missed 31 full-days of school (these were unexcused absences, not counting the excused absences) and also had 27 unexcused tardies on their record.
In Muskegon County, the Operation Graduation program was started a few years ago by Muskegon County Prosecutor D.J. Hilson, who was trying to address the rising issue of truancy in Muskegon schools. After a child receives a total of nine unexcused absences, and the school decides that their grades are suffering as a result, they are flagged for the program, and they and their parents are offered help to address the issue.
What happens when the interventions offered to parents don’t work?
It isn’t often that a parent refuses to cooperate with the school district to address their child’s truancy problems, but when it does, they are referred to the Prosecutor’s office. In this case, the school district says they sent McEntaffer multiple warning letters about her child’s truancy problems, and reached out in other ways to offer help, like transportation services.
Finally, a meeting was set up with the prosecutor’s office, but McEntaffer didn’t show up. The following week a conference call was scheduled. The prosecutor spoke with the mother in the hope of addressing the issues with her, and also to explain the seriousness of the situation. But despite the conversation, McEntaffer’s child continued to miss school without explanation. The case moved to the next stage. But what happened next will amaze you!
Have you been accused of educational neglect in Michigan?
As you can see, a child who misses enough school days quickly comes to the attention of the school district, and the Prosecutor’s Office. In Michigan, attending school is not optional. Children must receive some kind of schooling, whether it’s through a public or private school, or through homeschooling.
Join us next time, as we look at how this story unraveled, and what the state of Michigan does when a child isn’t sent to school. Until then, if you or a loved one have been accused of neglecting or abusing a child, call The Kronzek Firm at 866 766 5245. We are here to help you and your family!