So I was surprised to see media stories popping up yesterday reporting that Loudoun County Public Schools had brought criminal charges against parents Amy and Mark Denicore for their three children’s habitual tardiness to Waterford Elementary. You can click through and read articles at the Loudoun Times, the Washington Post, msnbc.com, USA Today, and WTOP. Numerous other blogs and sites have commented as well…it’s certainly struck a nerve. Based on what I’ve read in the articles, I’ve pieced together the following:
- All three kids are under 10 and attend the same school, Waterford Elementary
- The tardiness issue has been going on since at least last year, with combined 150 lates for all 3 kids
- Each has been late around 25 or so times this year
- Parents were arraigned this week and trial date is set for March 14th
- Charged with a Class 3 misdemeanor under the state’s compulsory education law
- LCPS says the parents were warned numerous times about the issue
The court of public opinion has been noisy in the comments sections of these stories, and seems to be divided into two camps: there should be parental consequences for the habitual lateness, or the school system is ridiculously overreacting. My take is that there should be some sort of middle ground on this.
There is no excuse whatsoever for your children being late to school that many times. Period.
I don’t care how many children you have, what their ages are, whether you work or stay at home. The habitual late arrivals are a disruption to the teacher, the classmates, and to the children themselves. I say this as a mom of four children who have not been late more than once or twice, each, their entire school careers. And mine are split between two schools. (I’m also the child of a retired high school teacher.)
Of course it’s hard and crazy and requires a lot of coordination, scheduling, cajoling, and hustling. Welcome to parenting a large family.
That being said, I’m amazed that the school system took the step to bring criminal charges against the parents. I’ve never heard of this happening anywhere across the country before. I’m curious what Loudoun County schools did to help these parents before they filed charges. What type of warnings were issued? Did they try to help the parents with this at the school level?
I’m parked and following this story; if anyone can provide some insight into what steps were taken before the charges were filed, I think we’d all love to hear it.