A mother in Michigan has been ordered to spend five days in jail after failing to do anything to stop her child from missing school.

Brittany Horton was sentenced this month after she pleaded guilty to a charge of truancy in May according to the Muskegon Chronicle.

The initial charge was filed in accordance to a program instated by the County Prosecutor several years ago to prevent truancy, but her punishment was delayed to give her a chance to work on it.

Instead her 6-year-old missed more classes and in total there are 26 unexcused absences on the child’s record.

Students are flagged for an intervention when they reach nine days of unexcused absences and the program does not count excused absences when considering truancy charges.

“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,” the prosecutor’s office said in a statement according to the Chronicle.

When the 28-year-old pleaded guilty in May, the sentence was deferred and it was agreed that it would be dismissed if her child had no more unexcused absences and she was going to work on it.

But Horton failed to show up to scheduled meetings to discuss the absences and even after the sentence was deferred, her child missed another 14 days of school.

The Judge sentenced her to five days in the county jail and nine months of probation and ordered her to pay $720AUD in costs and fines.

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  • We lived very close to the school so we walked. There was twin boys in my class who used to go part way to school, muck about under some trees in a small reserve, then go back home. The Education Dept, sent a Truant Officer to their home. He found them playing on their garage roof. He sent a letter to their parents warning then that action would be taken if the kept not going to school. I also know a girl who as a high school student used to get her name marked on the roll, wait until morning break and leave school for the rest of the day.

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  • When my marriage broke down & we split my kids really suffered in the adjustment & my eldest had a lot of anger built up resulting in more than 60 days off school. His psychologist wrote to the school outlining his progress & why he had missed so much time of school. His teachers told me to do whatever it took to get him to school even if he refused to get dressed & they would support me in any way they could. I had to drag out of bed still in his PJ’s with his uniform in a bag along with breakfast, I ended up with bruises from him kicking & hitting me but it worked. A 12 yr old can pack a good punch but the threat of going to school in his PJ’s eventually worked & he didn’t miss any more school unless he was sick. If you work with everyone involved you can always make a plan so yr kid does not miss out on school, those early years are so important & it sets them up for life.

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  • As the child is only 6, it is the parents responsibility to make sure that they attend school, she was given enough chances to change but didnt.

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  • I don’t agree with this sentence either, as the child will be the dupe.
    It would be better to sit with this mum around the table to educate and see what the deeper causes are.

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  • there are obviously issues here and she needs help.

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  • The real concern is the underlying why I hope the child is ok.

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  • An odd consequence but in the end a 6 year old isn’t able to look after themself. Very odd story, not sure it is complete.

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  • There has to be more that we have been told. A child of six years should be going with someone to go to school or the bus stop for school. How is jailing the mother going to get the child to school? Have a sis-in-law who delivered her HS son to the HS gates, he would leave the grounds. She ended up taking him to the front desk signing a book with him to verify he was there.

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  • My step kid’s mother is like this, doesn’t feel like taking the kids to school so they stay home until the threat of her centrelink being cut off

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  • So they take the child’s mother away. Who is looking after her now? (It doesn’t mention anyone else in the family) taking her to school? Bit harsh for truancy. Wouldn’t it b better to arrange someone to collect the child and see that she gets to school?

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  • I get that they want kids in school but how do these punishments help this child? Instead of having a better attendance record he lost his mother for a week and is now some $700+ poorer on top of it. Counselling and parenting classes may have been a better idea. Perhaps there was no money, no food, perhaps this mother battles anxiety or depression.

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  • Maybe they should homeschool, if the kid does not want to go to school, there must be more to this story. There may be good reason for the kid’s absence. And what do they mean by “unexcused absences”??


    • Unexcused most likely means not explained. Non attendance requires explanation and medical certificates or other documentation/reasons for non attendance.

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  • There seems to be a lot missing from this story. It appears that there should be more interference from government officials getting to the bottom on why this is happening. Maybe the parents need further support. I hope the system does not fail this family instead of just condemning them.

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  • Sounds like something is going on at home – substance abuse, homelessness, mental illness? Kid misses school and mum misses meetings. Can’t help someone that doesn’t want to be helped. Hopefully this will turn things around for them both

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  • I’d like to know if there was any real reason for the absences.

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