Parents Give up on Truant Students

By: Carrie Cline Email
By: Carrie Cline Email

HUNTINGTON, W.Va. (WSAZ) -- Send your kids to school or you go to jail. That's the scary reality for dozens of parents caught in the truancy trap. So, after reaching their wits end, some are ready to throw in the towel.

“I'm embarrassed. I’m scared and worried I’m going to go to jail for being a hard-working single mother,” one mother said.

That's why this mom does not want to share her name. But, she admits she's caught in her own worst nightmare. Her daughter missed more than forty days in high school last year. Now the judge says if the high schooler misses one more day her mom goes to jail.

“I get her up, think she's going to school, she's not, she's lying. She’s just shy of 18. She’s almost an adult. I don’t know what else to do with her,” the mother said.

So, this mother wanted out.

“In rare cases where the children are 16, 17, when the parents have done all they can to try to take care of making the kids go to school, they can file an incorrigible petition," Cabell County Prosecutor Chris Chiles

“I wanted to do it, but they wanted me to sign my rights over. I said I'd go to jail first,” the mother said.

“It was the best thing I ever did and I'd do it again,” mother Tess Carter said.

Tess Carter did file an incorrigible petition against her son. Attendance is a smaller problem than the behavior. He has several behavioral disorders that complicate matters.

“I got help and resources that made a big difference,” Carter said.

But, before it ever even gets to that point, parents have to prove they've put in the time.

“The parents should be responsible for making sure their child goes to school and we're going to hold them accountable with the courts,” said Chiles.

In hopes of steering these students back onto the straight and narrow.

60 truancy cases were scheduled in Cabell County Circuit Court today alone.

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