Court Rules Mother Must Take More Time with Kids: So It Sentences Her to Jail

A Springfield, Missouri woman was convicted under state truancy laws for her son’s truancy and sentenced to two days in jail and two years probation. Notably, Kathleen Casteel was home schooling her son — one of five. This is only the latest such criminalization of poor parental skills. Indeed, legislators have recently called for criminal charges against parents who miss parent-teacher conferences.

Associate Circuit Judge Mark Fitzsimmons sentenced Casteel to serve two years of probation and ordered her to enroll her son in public school. He also ordered her to take parental skill courses. The latter two elements were perfectly correct. Casteel should obviously not be allowed to continue home schooling with such documented truancy and she may need a class. It is the criminal sentencing that is over the top, in my view. Yet, the prosecutors wanted more jail time.

“I thought the sentence was fair. Our whole goal is to improve attendance,” said Assistant Prosecuting Attorney Joe Knipp. It appears that criminal prosecution is now a vehicle of good attendance policy.

Notably, Casteel’s ex-husband was also charged but prosecutors decided to defer Rod Casteel’s case.

I cannot see how sentencing a single mother of five to jail and two years probation will help her spend more time on her kids.

The criminalization of school policies and practices appears to be on the rise, click here and here .

For the full story, click here and here.

3 thoughts on “Court Rules Mother Must Take More Time with Kids: So It Sentences Her to Jail

  1. Missouri also skirts the unconstitutional debtor’s prison by incarcerating parents who fail to pay child support by labeling it criminal non-support. That sounds like debt to me. If the law hasn’t been challenged already, maybe it will end up in the U.S. Supreme Court?

    I’ve already represented a person facing possible jail on civil contempt charges filed against them for non-payment and we won. IF the other side really wanted child support payments, I don’t understand what the other side was trying to accomplish by forcing someone to hire an attorney to avoid prison which would make it impossible to make any child support payments.

    I guess the judge thought the same thing…

  2. This just doesn’t make sense. There was quite a bit of money spent on this trial and it’s outcome. Why is the money being spent in this manner? The same amount of money could have been spent on a medical/psychological evaluation of the son to get him started on proper treatment. Violent outbursts can be caused by abuse. They may be a sign of temporal lobe epilepsy. Someone needs to understand what is really happening here. Truancy is the symptom, not the root of the problem.

    This sentence will only further alienate mother and son as evidenced in her threat to hit him if he doesn’t go to school.

    Authorities can not say they did not have the money to provide proper treatment. They chose to spend a great deal of money. I find this typical of our society. We continue to spend untold gobs of money of the prison system while restricting money for education, health and welfare of our children. This thinking gives us worse than nothing for something. It is both stupid and cruel.

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