Taking Your Kid Late to School? Now You Won’t Be Charged With a Misdemeanor In Virginia

November 10, 2014

A few days ago, the Virginia Supreme Court ruled that a parent cannot be charged of a crime when their child arrives late to school.  The ruling stemmed from a Loudoun County 2012 case involving a mother who was convicted of 3 misdemeanors for her children’s tardiness.

The convictions were based on Virginia’s mandatory attendance law (Virginia Code 22.1-254), which states that students should be in school the same amount of hours each day.  In overturning the convictions, the Virginia Supreme Court said that the mandatory attendance law cannot be interpreted to encompass tardiness.  According to the Judge, such a broad interpretation would allow prosecution of parents for every minor infraction of  attendance.

The Loudoun County school system  has not referred any more parents for prosecution since 2012.  Other schools in the area generally discipline students who are late, rather than pursue criminal charges.

I agree that it’s important to have children to school on time, but I think it’s a waste of resources to charge the parents with a crime.  Thankfully, parents can no longer be charged with misdemeanors for a child’s tardiness in Virginia.


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