Parents charged for children being habitual truants
Five parents of elementary school-aged children were charged with Class A misdemeanors in Estill District Court last week, for allowing their children to become habitual truants.
Estill County Schools Director of Pupil Personnel Robert “Skip” Johnson, working closely with the Estill County Attorney’s Office, brought third degree unlawful transaction with a minor charges against Michael Agee, Ashlee Agee, Charlie Crowe, Clarissa Harrison and Brandon Stevens.
“It is not fair to single out one parent to charge if their child is a truant. I charged the mothers and the fathers,” Johnson said.
The charges were brought after Johnson had visited the homes of the truant children.
“The schools send out two friendly letters expressing concern that the children aren’t in school,” Johnson explained. “Then they are referred to me.”
Johnson said he knocks on doors, calls and tries to get parents to send their children to school.
“I don’t want to do this, but parents have to realize that they have to send their children to school,” he said. “They have made a beggar out of me. I am begging parents to send their children to school.
“Friendly” letters are sent to parents when the child first becomes truant. Second letters are sent if the parent is still non-compliant.
“The second letter is not quite as friendly,” Johnson said.
Moving out of the school district won’t keep a student from being classified as a truant. Johnson said that if they miss three or more days without a valid excuse or are tardy three or more days in the Estill County School System or any other system in the state, it will carry over to the next school they attend.
Each of the five people charged pleaded guilty and were sentenced to 30 days in jail.
Unlawful transaction with a minor in the third degree, a Class A misdemeanor, according to Kentucky Revised Statutes, covers several areas including procuring alcoholic beverages for a minor; knowingly induces, assists, or causes a minor to engage in any other criminal activity; knowingly induce, assists or causes a minor to become an habitual truant ; or persistently and knowingly induces, assists or causes a minor to disobey his parent or guardian.
The sentences were conditionally discharged for a period of 24 months as long as their children have no further unexcused absences or tardies during that time.