Parents face judge in truancy crackdown - WMC Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

Parents face judge in truancy crackdown

By Ben Watson - bio | email | Twitter | Facebook

MEMPHIS, TN (WMC-TV) - More than one dozen Mid-South parents faced a Memphis judge Monday as part of a truancy crackdown because their children have been absent from school.

Prosecutors said a total of 19 parents were summoned to court because they did not respond to requests from Memphis City Schools and the Shelby County District Attorney General's office to come in and talk about their child's repeated absences.

One mother cried during court proceedings, while another, Lachelle Moore, told the judge she plans to get an attorney and fight the charges.

"Why? Because I'm going to have to," Moore said. "If I don't hire a lawyer, I'm going to go to jail, because they're talking about my kids done missed a lot of days out of school."

Moore disagreed with the prospect of facing jail time if her children continue to miss school.

"I'm a single mother with five kids, and every time one of them misses a day out of school I got to go to jail for it? No. That's not right," Moore said.

Moore claims she is the victim of a misunderstanding, and maintains that her two children did not violate the state truancy laws.  She insisted she believes her children are going to school.

"They go to school every day," she said.  "I've got my paperwork showing right here that he's in school right now. He enrolled in Humes Middle School. They go to school every day.  So there's been a mistake made."

A second mother also informed the judge she plans to get an attorney.  Meanwhile, other parents who showed up pleaded guilty and agreed one year of unofficial probation.  During that time, each parent must make sure his or her child goes to school regularly and attends mentoring classes.

The parents must attend also parenting classes.

Prosecutors said staffers from the D.A.'s office are monitoring other student absences, and more parents could find themselves facing a judge in the future.

A total of 19 parents were charged, but only 14 showed up for court Monday.  The rest will face a judge at a later time.

Copyright 2009 WMC-TV. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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