Mom in jail for child’s school attendance violation


BRUNSWICK COUNTY, NC (WWAY) — You may not know that if your child misses too much school, it’s a crime. The husband of a Brunswick County woman says she’s in jail for 10 days for just that.

According to an arrest warrant, Jerri Collis is charged with attendance law violation, which is a misdemeanor. Deputies say the child’s principal had a criminal summons taken out on Collis after the woman was warned about unexcused absences. The warrant says when the number got to 10, Collis was charged.

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In the warrant, the principal at Cedar Grove Middle School said she met with the mom to determine if she had made a good-faith effort to comply with the law. When the principal decided she didn’t, she sought the criminal summons.

A social worker with Brunswick County Schools says this law is aimed to protect the child, not punish the parent.

“If they are missing academic instruction, they are missing class work, and they are missing homework, they are missing tests, their grades are going to drop, and that’s a part of it we generally see,” Jennifer Ordonez said. “We do have multiple interventions that we utilize before having to make a decision to charge a parent.”

WWAY spoke to Collis’s husband over the phone. He tells us she is serving a 10-day sentence. He says the child has some health concerns and was recently bullied, and that was the reason for the absences.