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.