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Judges reverse teen’s adjudication for school absences, tardies

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The state didn’t show that a teenager was in need of care, treatment, or rehabilitation regarding school attendance, so his adjudication as a delinquent child for missing school should be reversed, ruled the Indiana Court of Appeals.

In C.S. v. State of Indiana, No. 67A01-1101-JS-19, the state filed a delinquency petition in November 2010 alleging C.S. violated the attendance law. C.S. was a sophomore at North Putnam High School and at the time the petition was filed, he had one full-day unexcused absence, was marked absent from class without excuse for five class periods, and was tardy 12 times during the fall semester. C.S. was grounded by his mother after she learned of the absences and afterward, he was no longer tardy or had unexcused absences for the fall semester.

After a fact-finding hearing, the juvenile court found C.S. violated the attendance law and sentenced him to six months formal probation.

On appeal, C.S. claimed the state never presented evidence to prove that he was in need of care, treatment, or rehabilitation, which is required to adjudicate a child for a status offense such as violating the attendance law.

Relating to this issue, the state only presented C.S.’s attendance record and evidence of C.S.’s school performance relating to his attitude, not his attendance. The state argued that C.S.’s violation of the compulsory attendance law implicitly showed he needed care, treatment, or rehabilitation, but the judges dismissed that argument citing R.B. v. State, 839 N.E.2d 1282, 1283 (Ind. Ct. App. 2005), and G.N. v. State, 833 N.E.2d 1071, 1075 (Ind. Ct. App. 2005).

“The present case can be readily distinguished. In R.B., the juvenile had twenty-three full-day, unexcused absences and in G.N., fifteen full-day, unexcused absences. In the present case, C.S. had one unexcused full-day absence. In absence of any other evidence that C.S. was in need of care, treatment or rehabilitation regarding school attendance, we cannot infer such need from a single unexcused absence,” wrote Judge James Kirsch.

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  1. From his recent appearance on WRTV to this story here, Frank is everywhere. Couldn't happen to a nicer guy, although he should stop using Eric Schnauffer for his 7th Circuit briefs. They're not THAT hard.

  2. They learn our language prior to coming here. My grandparents who came over on the boat, had to learn English and become familiarize with Americas customs and culture. They are in our land now, speak ENGLISH!!

  3. @ Rebecca D Fell, I am very sorry for your loss. I think it gives the family solace and a bit of closure to go to a road side memorial. Those that oppose them probably did not experience the loss of a child or a loved one.

  4. If it were your child that died maybe you'd be more understanding. Most of us don't have graves to visit. My son was killed on a state road and I will be putting up a memorial where he died. It gives us a sense of peace to be at the location he took his last breath. Some people should be more understanding of that.

  5. Can we please take notice of the connection between the declining state of families across the United States and the RISE OF CPS INVOLVEMENT??? They call themselves "advocates" for "children's rights", however, statistics show those children whom are taken from, even NEGLIGENT homes are LESS likely to become successful, independent adults!!! Not to mention the undeniable lack of respect and lack of responsibility of the children being raised today vs the way we were raised 20 years ago, when families still existed. I was born in 1981 and I didn't even ever hear the term "CPS", in fact, I didn't even know they existed until about ten years ago... Now our children have disagreements between friends and they actually THREATEN EACH OTHER WITH, "I'll call CPS" or "I'll have [my parent] (usually singular) call CPS"!!!! And the truth is, no parent is perfect and we all have flaws and make mistakes, but it is RIGHTFULLY OURS - BY THE CONSTITUTION OF THIS GREAT NATION - to be imperfect. Let's take a good look at what kind of parenting those that are stealing our children are doing, what kind of adults are they producing? WHAT ACTUALLY HAPPENS TO THE CHILDREN THAT HAVE BEEN RIPPED FROM THEIR FAMILY AND THAT CHILD'S SUCCESS - or otherwise - AS AN ADULT.....

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