23 January 2012

Michigan School Prosecutes Mom for Tardies

Kid, nevermind your autism and how it affects your being able to get to school on time.  We think you should just go into foster care and your single momma? We'd like to send her to jail. 
Yeah.  That's pretty much what this school in Michigan is saying.  The mom and son duo start their day TWO HOURS EARLY and still can't make it in time on some days.  Have you ever dealt with an autistic child who has it in his head that thank you, he is NOT going some place or another?  You have a choice of beating the kid or hoping you can figure out some way to help the situation resolve itself.
This single mom looks like she has everything together at first blush, and maybe she does.  But I think before we send her off to jail, maybe it would be cheaper for the taxpayer and better for everyone all around if an autism specialist of some kind were hired to help the mom with techniques that will at least decrease the tardies or help the CHILD to regulate his own schedule a bit better?  Or perhaps bring some of those programs in the morning to his home and transport him from there?  I don't know what money pot that would come from funding-wise... but... looks like common sense to me.  This mom needs help, not jail.  It wouldn't "teach" her anything but the fact that the system is stacked against her.  I think she knows that already.
I've spoken out against this whole parent "accountability" thing for truancy before.  It's just wrong on so many levels.   Sure, if kids are signed up to go to school, parents should make *every* effort to ensure their children attend.   But wow.
My friend Kerima Cevik is angry about it.  "As I read the comments associated with this case, I realize that this woman will go to jail and her son will go into the foster care system," she wrote recently. 
"Because no one cares."
"The hate messages are frightening. And everyone assumes she is an irresponsible single mother who along with her son, are just not interested in education. Their judgement is based entirely upon her race. How I will navigate this biased system and keep my son from harm as a woman with the same skin as her, God only knows."
I'm pretty scared about the whole story myself.



  1. That's awful. This is only a small part of what is really wrong with our system. We want to jail single mom's who TRY to do what is right, but we let convicted sex offenders and addicts go because of over crowding.

    Why doesn't the school step it up and work with her? Maybe send a vehicle to her home with an aide to go in the house and help get the boy out and to the building on time? If it's such an easy thing to do...then step up and help her do it.

  2. It's just not ok what they are doing. I'd like to know what this child is dreading so much at school, or if it is simply a problem with his ability to get through all the items on his list (eat breakfast, get books, wahtever) on time.

  3. lol wahtever dahling. I should check before I publish...

  4. Okay, let's forget for just a moment whether or not it is reasonable to put a parent in jail for being late for school for a child who is neurotypical...

    “My argument so far can be summarized thus: whatever else disability is, it is also the experience of discrimination, marginalization, and exclusion from social, cultural, political and economic domains of human life; and part of the solution to disability is to overcome the barriers to full participation in these arenas.” Amos Yong’s Theology and Down Syndrome: Reimagining Disability in Late Modernity

    Accommodate neurological difference...

  5. Yes! And the quote is beautiful, sad and true all at the same time.

  6. Can I just say RIDICULES?! I agree that some other form of judgement should be given. That is just plain awful that jail would be given to this poor woman before some other course of action. I am appalled...I just ran out of words to even comment anymore! Thanks for sharing this story!

  7. Wow! That could totally have been me at times! This is absolutely ridiculous and infuriates me beyond words. There have been many occasions where my son was up ALL NIGHT LONG and I could not get him to wake up enough to go to school. I would have to take him in late. Upon being somewhat harassed about the situation, I did attempt to start taking him in regardless of the sleep situation. On the occasions that I did drag him out of bed, go through the screaming and fighting lack of sleep battle, and take him to school on no sleep, guess what happened....I got a call saying he was falling asleep at school and that I needed to come and get him. Really?? Have these people ever heard of, 'You can't have one's cake and eat it too?" I won that battle in the end, and the school finally backed off, but it is scary to think that I could have been in a similar position had they not.
    We don't know the circumstances in this particular situation, of course, but it is absolutely absurd to prosecute someone like that. Okay, rant over!

    1. Hi, Jennifer! I know for most of us, it is a "tough noogies, school is from 8 am to 3 pm" situation, but when you're dealing with a disability or other medical/emotional problem and not a willful flauting of school rules, they really should work with you. SOMETHING is very wrong that your child would avoid school like that directly or not, yk??



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