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Purcellville woman arrested over kids’ tardiness in school

Loudoun County Public Schools are making headlines with their policy against excessive tardiness and absences after a Loudoun County mother was arrested and charged with three counts of contributing to the delinquency to a minor.

Maureen Blake, 42, of Purcellville, was served a warrant on Jan. 21, informing her to appear in court on Jan. 25. She was released on a $3,000 bond the same day.

Her children attend an unidentified western Loudoun school close to where the much-publicized Denicore family’s children attend and have been cited for excessive tardies.

Mark and Amy Denicore appeared in court on Feb. 6 after they were summoned for their daughter Sophie’s excessive tardies to school. The Denicore’s three children have been tardy 85 times since September, but have only missed less than three hours each of school.

Mark Denicore, a lawyer, said he could potentially lose his license to practice law if he loses the case and paying up to $3,000 in fines for his children’s tardiness. They will go to trial March 14.

“The warrants were obtained by a Loudoun County [Attendance Officer] via a magistrate on the afternoon of Jan. 19,” Liz Mills, public information officer for Loudoun County Sheriff’s office said. “The sheriff’s office didn’t initiate the arrest and we didn’t determine probable cause. That’s up to the school.”

The warrant was served by a Loudoun County Sheriff’s deputy and a Purcellville Police Officer.

According to Wayde Byard, Loudoun County Schools public information officer, Loudoun County Juvenile and Domestic Relation judges have asked the school system to report excessive absences or tardies to them. The judges’ have asked for the reports from the schools for a year. But, according to Byard, the school system tries to work out constant absence and tardy problems with the parents directly before taking the next step.

“This is not a position we want parents to be in,” Byard said.

The schools do everything in their power to help families who encounter difficulties in getting their children to school, Byard said. But if the family isn’t receptive, the schools need to take it to the next level.

“All we do is report to the court intake officer and from there it’s the legal system,” Byard said. “The judges ask to see all of the excessive absences of tardiness. We don’t issue summons, we don’t send out deputies. That’s up to the court to do that.”

Byard also said that in the beginning of each year, parents sign a Student Rights and Responsibilities packet that addresses their attendance policy.

Under the Students Rights and Responsibilities, after 15 or more consecutive absences or excessive tardies the Virginia Administrative Code requires the student be dropped from the attendance rolls. It’s then up to the principal to discipline the child.

If any student gets a minimum of five unexcused absences, a parent or guardian is required to provide the school with documentation from a licensed physician in regards to their absence.

According to the Student Rights and Responsibilities “a student is truant any time he or she willfully absents himself or herself from school or from any assigned class or activity. Excessive unexcused tardies may result in a truancy referral. Truancy is a serious offense that requires a stern correction action on the part of the school and the parents.”


So, next year don’t sign the rights and responsibilities.. Then what would happen?

I have not followed this entire issue. But I would assume the parents had been notified before any arrest had taken place.  From what I can tell the parents, by not following the rules the rest of us follow, seem to be teaching their children that they are special and the rules don’t apply to them. Being constantly late to class is disruptive and unfair to those children that follow the rules.  Let alone the disrespect it shows the teacher.  We all have an occasional issue and are late.  This is not an occasional issue and if nothing else was getting through to the parents, which seems to be it was not, then I’m all for a more harsh action being taken.

I see a few possible solutions, depending on the nature of the problem.  1) Truancy Officers at the expense of the county;  2) Home School / Self Paced online study at the expense of the parents;  3)impose a fine on the parents say $500 without arresting them; 4) make the child serve community service depending on age (skipping school without parental knowledge). Many angry people commenting on here don’t have real insight as to why the children are consistenly late - and - why the school system is taking so long to enforce.  But, ultimately, BOTH parties are wrong and need correcting. There’s no excuse for the tardiness AND for the slow and ineffective disciplinary action of the parents/children.

Perhaps you should have the law changed?

For the imbeciles that comment here and side with LCPS!

Who is LCPS? How does LCPS care more about these kids than their own parents?

It feels like i’m leaving in a Communist country again, when the PARTY’s business went up to BEDROOM issues.

You, siding with LCPS should have gonne for some time and experience to live in a COMMUNIST country to understand what is going now in loudoun county.

These two parents have proved to be successful in society. They are both lawyers.  Their kids will too.

What were the REAL consequences of this kids being late to school?  NONE.

THESE IDIOTS in loudoun county should deal with the real issues, not with trivial things that do not belong to county or state level.


Did the Denicores post bond too?

I haven’t read all the comments but my child has been late for school many times. It’s not because I am lazy or don’t care. I am a new single mom who went from being stay at home to working. My umm husband weren’t divorced and I had no money and no other family or friends to help. I had no gas money some days so I couldn’t take them and then my car starting acting up. I now have a job but still major car problems. They can’t just hop on the bus. That has to be set up and they are only set up for after school bus. Also, the line has gotten to be forever long. I live 3 miles , if that, from the school. I will get there at 7:45 and she has been late just bc of the line. So for those of you being mean, you ought to consider what is really happening. I would never tell anyone what I am going through with all the car and money issues and I’m sure they’re are a lot of people who do the same. Yet I’m judged as a flake parent bc of 1-3 minute tardies bc I try to solve it quick. Unfortunately for my wonderful neihbors. ( and in that I mean car issues). I really think true and actual truency is an issue that should definately be dealt with but a child being late consistently is not always on purpose and not jail time or record in any case.

So what’s next?  The parent cries foul and calls in the Rutherford Institute, then gets media attention on Dateline?  That’s happened before and the case was won by LCPS.  Rights and Responsibilities for both students and parents; you sign the forms.  How about demonstrating self-respect and learn to set goals?

To those of you defending these parents: You’re right! Why should we teach children to get to school on time? They won’t have to get to work on time someday…oh, yeah! They will! Tardiness disrupts the start of the school day and is unfair to the tardy children and their classmates. Personally, if you are getting your children to school on time or are not encouraging their attendance, you are putting your children at a severe disadvantage. Sad that the courts have to step in but if these parents are not mature enough to parent correctly someone has to step in. Those of you supporting these parents would be the same ones complaining if their child’s teacher showed up late three days per week!!! What a lazy teacher…fire them!! You can’t have it both ways!

This is the most ridiculous thing I have heard in a long time! The court has no business in something like this! Excessive tardiness….REALLY???? I agree with Allen…I too am embarrassed to live in this county. First the decorations on the courthouse lawn and now we are dragging parents in court for “excessive tardiness”! Unreal!!

So, why are some people defending the special snowflakes that can’t be bothered to be parents?  My parents had absolutely no trouble getting us off to school, it was just one of the things that parents did.

The only we were ever late or gone from school was because of doctor’s appointments or physical illness.  These parents are doing their children no favors by being so irresponsible.

Raising a generation of White trash losers

Is it really true that the only serious cases of tardyism/truancy in the entire county are at two of the smaller, most academically successful elementary schools? Could it be that most schools are busy dealing with other issues? Or possibly some schools are more lenient about documenting every tardy when they are close calls? 

I am surprised these parents aren’t more concerned about getting their kids to school on time since it appears that they care about their children’s education . . . but I have a feeling we’re just hearing about them because the policy is not being handled consistently throughout the county (or because they are being more vocal about it).

By Loudoun County

“Maybe this is LCPS’ way of lashing out at the voters.  The administration is mad that its rubber stamp School Board got voted out, so LCPS is going to be as mean an vindictive as it can.  And some thug tactics fit the bill.”

For a nano second that though crossed my mind…don’t think it would be a good strategy if so.

I suspect tardiness is an issue with kids(parents) and always will be..part of the public school system.

However, it makes me wonder:

—Why all the publicity now?? 
—Is this a common action of LCPS but public isnt privy to?

My only observation that gives me some pause.  My Byrd, and others express their concern about disruption it causes with school, students, etc.  But his response to employees coming in drunk to school, etc.  he expressed compassion (Crittenden teacher) for the teacher.

Four of our children have gone through LCPS and left with wonderful experiences (us too), but our last is a different story.  I’ve noticed a shift.  There use to be a partnership feeling with teachers, parents and community.  Now there is this “us” vs. “them” mentality.  Don’t know where it is coming from, but it permeates in many of our schools.  Teachers talking about children in a not so educational way.  Teachers blogging anonymously and slamming (their) kids in awful blanket statements. 

The one underlying statement that I have heard from educators during this shift of attitudes, is “the rich spoiled kids and their rich parents”  argument.  I don’t know if this is a non-official message being sent out to counter LCPS attempts to get funding, but it has offended many hardworking parents.  I get teachers are feeling frustrated during these economic times, but many LC households have felt that same….insurance premium increases, 10-20% pay cuts, increased taxes, etc.

My apologies for going off topic here, but the nastiness on this blog and anything LCPS is just sad.

My sympathy goes to minor children, who have now been outed by the arrest of their mother.  What will happen for their love of learning knowing that ‘their school arrested their mom?’  I suspect they will not want to go to school now.  Sad story all around.

If tardiness is disrupting classes, then haul the parents of kids who chat it up in class or otherwise disrupt classrooms into court as well. I thought the argument for requiring teachers to have teaching certificates was that they were specially trained to instruct pupils on how to overcome “disruptedness.”

As found on another thread…..if these parents can’t get their kids to school on time at this age, they don’t stand a chance when the kids are teenagers.  They better figure something out and soon.

For Perry Mason.  For many people in Loudoun County, a simple fight is not an assault.  Crazy as it may seem, it’s not an assault if there is an excuse.  Read through this thread as well as the other one regarding tardiness and you will see that most posters refuse to take responsibility for their actions.  They think they are above the rules and are exempt from enforcement.

candicane - actually a “simple fight” is assault.  It would not be acceptable in the workplace or anywhere else.

Hey Excuses, watch out!!  Looks like candicane is a relative of EllaCC.  Where do they find these people??

people need to home school their kids fr here on out,,,this isnt going to get better, its going to get worse,,,they treat students and parents like criminals nowadays,,,a simple fight is dealt with by police,,,they throw yr kids down and assault them arrest them and charge them with assault then you have to go to court and school hearings. They are now reaching into yr home and telling you youre going to jail if yr kid is late,,,they arrest kids for drawing on the desk, talking loud, burping in class, weve created a nanny state full of monsters,,,its nuts,,,we dont have to send our kids to school in these quasi prisons,,,STOP PUBLIC SCHOOLS FROM RUINING OUR KIDS! TEACH THEM AT HOME! My child changed after public school and her innocence can never be replaced.

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