PA School Issues Truancy Fines to Ill Student with Terminally Ill Mother

(WPMT) - A terminally ill Pennsylvania mom wants her son’s school district to pay her back. Dria Rhoades says the West Shore School District has denied her severely ill son’s doctor’s notes and now she could face jail time.

Rhoades says, “I paid about $1000, I still have at least $500 or $600 sitting in fines, I can’t afford to pay, I’m going to jail for.”

The West Shore School District denied Rhoades for her son’s absence from Red Land High School. She says her son, Trevor Webster, is very sick.

“He’s been diagnosed with Asperger’s Syndrome, Tourette’s, epilepsy and cluster migraines,” says Rhoades.

Rhoades doesn’t know how she’ll pay for the truancy fines because of her conditions.

She says has, “Systemic lupus, kidney failure and other health issues and I’m on chemo and diagnosed as terminally ill and we live on a tight budget, single mom trying to support 3 children.”

A spokesperson for the district says under school policy, students must not miss 3 or more consecutive days of absence or 10 days throughout the school year. In such cases, a student must have a doctor’s note turned in within 3 days of their absence.

Rhoades says, “They have copies of everything. He’s on an IEP plan with the school and they were made well aware of his medical conditions and they still play games.”

For over a year, the school district’s been sending letters to the family for failing to follow policy. The local district issued fines. And Rhoades has been issued 4 warrants. Failure to pay by the end of the week could place Rhoades under arrest.

She says, “I would like to see them return all the money that I had to pay out to them, and I have until Friday to pay the fines, I can’t do that…it’s not right.”

The district’s spokesperson says he can not comment specifically on Trevor’s case.

But now, thanks to public support, the family has enough funds to pay off the truancy fines from the West Shore School District.

A kind person started a fundraiser page.  They’ve raise more than $1000, so far.

13 comments

  • Carolyn Mauldon

    I think some school officials are wanting that money to put in their pocket,but all i got to say is what goes around comes around,instead of helping this mother,this is just plain sorry.

    • Jharris

      HMMM….. I didn’t know George W. Bush was a liberal….. wasn’t this part of his no child left behind legacy

  • Melissa Pezza

    Why pay fines if you’re not guilty?
    Don’t the school have the letters?
    I would definitely sue if her story is genuine!!

  • Melissa Pezza

    To add to my last post…I don’t think suing is necessary for everything but if her story is true…the money could help this family with medical bills or even better care or last case scenario…help a grieving family!!!

  • College Student

    If her story is true & those government employees can verify it and they still are messing with this woman like this they should be facing the death penalty. They are PURE EVIL.

  • John L. McGary

    I would burn everything that could be sold to pay a fine quit work and refuse to work another day of my life just to make they would not get one dime from me.

  • Betty Kemp

    It was so nice for people helping the lady get the money up for the family, It is a terrible thing for a family to go thru,,, especially with both the mother and child being sick,, Thanks to all who helped. I will pray for this family.

  • Charlie

    I truly feel for this family and what they are going through…there are so many cases of truancy that need attention because of parents that don’t care if their Children are at school or not …But Yet…they find it easier to pick on those parents who try to do the right thing and WE are the ones who get dumped on….This happened to our family…I had been getting over Cancer surgery…when my son, 12 at the time…missed about 45 days of school due to a concussion he received from a kid beating him up after school…The school reported us to DHR …we had Dr. Excuses for every single time he was absent from school or had to leave school with bad headaches…nausea …etc. DHR was upset that… the school wasted their important time and wondered why the school felt they had to do this to us …DHR did not understand this…because, We followed school policy and kept up with school work missed and presented them with everything needed…etc. DHR gave us an A-OK rating and apologized to us for this…I FIXED our problem immediately…I returned to the school the following morning and withdrew him from school…to Home School Part Time and he goes to a Christian School 4 hrs. a day…will Graduate next year with a 3.75 GPA …. They lost a basketball star and an awesome student !!!!

  • David

    Most of what is being blamed on schools here is not the fault of the schools. The states’ compulsory attendance laws are written by legislators, not educators. Most states have written guidelines mandating attendance reporting on a daily or a weekly basis by the schools. If absences exceed those guidelines, excuses are turned in after deadlines or not at all, the schools must follow the laws of the state.

    These laws are designed to ensure that each child is given the opportunity to get an education, instead of being used as free labor in the family business, on the farm, or in the home, caring for siblings or other family members. Students who are ill will be home-schooled in every state I know, at no cost to the parents.

  • Jennifer Jackson

    What goes around, comes around…..I suggest they watch there backs. That family has MEDICAL ISSUES…..what part do they NOT understand.

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