Mom jailed in rare truancy case

MUSKEGON HEIGHTS, Mich. — A mother is now doing 12 days in jail for an extreme case of truancy.

Muskegon County Prosecutors told FOX 17 Amanda Crowell, 36, was given multiple second chances and warnings about the consequences of keeping her children from school. Crowell’s 8 year-old had 83 unexcused absences, while her high-school-aged child had 111 hours of unexcused absences during the 2017-2018 and 2018-2019 school years at Fruitport High School and Edgewood Elementary.

The prosecutor’s office became involved after the schools’ many attempts to convince Crowell to make sure her children were in school failed.

Tim Maat of the Muskegon County Prosecutor’s Office told us she could’ve avoided jail time entirely. Officials offered Crowell a contract stipulating her children would miss no more school. Crowell accepted the contract, but defaulted on it soon after.

Truancy, according to Maat, puts students at a disadvantage. “A child deprived of an education is often disadvantaged for the rest of their lives.”

Maat shared information from the US Office of Juvenile Justice showing the direct relationship between truancy and unemployment, drug use, and other problems later in life. He also made it clear there are resources for families struggling with getting their children to school everyday.

“The schools, the DHHS, Health West, the Family Resource Centers, our office, and many other private and public agencies provide assistance to parents who are struggling to keep their kids in school. Prosecution in cases like this are always a last resort.” the statement read.

The Muskegon County Prosecutors did not comment on the affect the absences have already had on the children’s education, or if they would need to do any extra work to keep up with their current class.

Crowell was sentenced on June 17th.

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