A New York mother was arrested after her two children missed over a month of school.
Chantel Kemble, 40, was taken into custody at her home in Newark last month, reported WHAM. Officials said that her 10-year-old and 12-year-old children missed over 30 days of school starting on Sept. 5, 2018.
Legally, chronic absence is when a student misses 18 days or more of school in a year. Children are required to receive an education, which for many means attending public or private school.
Kemble’s children missed approximately 20 percent of the school year, officials said. A plan was put into place at one point to fix the problem but when it wasn’t adhered to, she was arrested on two counts of endangering the welfare of a child—educational neglect.
Wayne County mother Chantel Kemble, whose kids allegedly missed too much school, is now facing criminal charges. Police say each of her two children missed nearly 40 days of school since September. https://t.co/DZehsLrEzM
— Antoinette DelBel (@AnnieDelBel) June 5, 2019
Kemble’s neighbor Rachel Danson said that Kemble was having issues with her boyfriend.
“Then with the kids not going to school, it’s been a lot of just not being able to get up and take the kids, or if they missed the bus, or the kids just don’t want to listen to mom, which is normal,” she told WHAM.
“I see from a mother’s point of view that when things get rough and there’s times when kids aren’t going to make it to school, I get that,” Danson added.
“I feel bad for the kids, but it’s also Chantel’s responsibility to make sure she’s doing what she needs to be doing for the kids. She does try. You can see she’s trying. She’s a very loving mother.”
Mother Sentenced to Jail for Similar Charge
The type of charge is rare but does happen. Late last year, a Michigan mother was sentenced to five days in jail.
Brittany Ann Horton, 28, was sentenced in November after she declined to cooperate with attempts by officials to make her child attend school, the Muskegon County Prosecutor’s Office told MLive. She pleaded guilty to truancy.
The prosecutor’s office said that Horton’s 6-year-old child had missed school at least 26 times.
“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,” according to a statement from the prosecutor’s office.
After Horton was charged in March, her child missed school at least 14 times.
Horton pleaded guilty in May. The prosecutor’s office agreed to dismiss the charge if the child didn’t miss school anymore but the agreement fell through.
In addition to the jail time, Horton was ordered to pay a $525 fine and serve nine months of probation.
Also last year, a Missouri mother was charged with educational neglect.
The St. Charles County Prosecutors Office charged Jessica Pence-Nicholson of St. Charles with educational neglect after her son, 9, missed around half of the school days between August and December 2017.
“They had missed a lot, yes,” Pence-Nicholson told Fox 2. “I don’t know how to explain a lot but quite a bit, yes.” She said it stemmed in part from a dangerous situation involving her ex-husband, prompting anxiety in her son.
That low attendance “is part of a pattern of poor attendance, which began before he reached the required age of attendance (7 years old) and was in kindergarten,” according to a probable cause statement.
The case has not been resolved as of yet.