OKLAHOMA CITY – An Oklahoma City mom is in trouble with the law for not sending her child to school.
The mom, Linette Johnson-Rodriguez, turned herself in Wednesday and remains in jail.
She faces two counts of neglecting to send her child to school.
Though she is not the only one; this school year 445 parents have been charged with similar charges.
In Oklahoma City schools this year there have been more than 6,500 students who have missed more than seven days of school.
Reducing that number is part of the goal of Youth Cornerstone’s THRIVE program.
Tawny Shelby, the Executive Director of Youth Cornerstone, said, “There’s just a lot of problems people have that their kids end up missing school.”
The program works with students and their parents to reduce absences.
A letter is sent home when the child hits seven absences.
The hope is to start a mediation program.
Shelby said, “Trying to find out what’s going on with the child, seeing if there is something going on with the family.”
Occasionally parents, for whatever reason, are not willing to work with the program and when their child passes 10 absences, the district attorney steps in, filing charges.
The most recent case to hit the courts is that of Johnson-Rodriguez.
She faces two misdemeanor charges for her child’s absences during the 2010-2011 school year and the 2011-2012 school year.
Court records show her child missed more days than allowed in third and fourth grade.
Johnson-Rodriguez this week turned herself in.
While the Youth Cornerstone program cannot talk about this case, they did say the goal is not to press charges.
“We aren’t looking to put parents in jail,” Shelby said. “We don’t want them to pay fines. We just want their kids in school.”
Youth Cornerstone said often absences are a sign of a bigger problem.
Helping a family work through that problem is one of their goals.