St. Clair County parents get court supervision in truancy case

News-DemocratJuly 27, 2013 

Three parents charged with allowing their children to go truant from school were sentenced Friday to court supervision and fines.

Antonia Ratliff and Sabrina Brown of Cahokia and Sabri Rachel Davis of East St. Louis all pleaded guilty to truancy charges in St. Clair County Court on June 26. Their children had been frequently absent from school, and they had ignored local and regional truancy boards' attempts to get them to comply with the law governing student attendance.

The three parents were sentenced Friday to one year of court supervision and fines in lieu of jail time. Their children must attend school every day unless their absence is excused.

If the children continue to miss school, the parents' supervision will be revoked, the convictions will be entered on the parents' records and probation, fines and jail time will be enforced, according to St. Clair County State's Attorney Brendan Kelly.

Kelly described the truancy cases as "chronic" and that the children missed well in excess of nine days of school.

"Law enforcement is putting more emphasis on truancy around the country because it is one of the leading indicators of risk for criminal behavior as adults," Kelly said. "This is not about giving people a hard time, this is about giving a child a better chance at a future life that is not behind bars."

A review date is scheduled for Oct. 1 to determine whether the defendants have been in compliance with the judge's orders.

Contact reporter Carolyn P. Smith at 618-239-2503.

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