A Loudoun County judge this week found a Purcellville woman guilty of three counts of contributing to the delinquency of a minor because of her children’s excessive school tardies, the Loudoun Times-Mirror reported.
Maureen Blake, 42, was fined $1,000 for each Class 1 misdemeanor count and also faces $3,000 in court fees, the Times-Mirror reported.
Her children attend Lincoln Elementary in the western part of the county. They were late about 10 times each between September and mid-January, according to the Times-Mirror.
The Denicores face three counts each of Class 3 misdemeanor charges, each of which carries a maximum fine of $500. Their three children, ages 6, 7 and 9, have been late to school almost 30 times since September. Most of their tardies were three minutes or less.
Though Blake’s children were late less often than the Denicores, Blake’s charges were more serious because this was her second go-round with the legal system over tardies. She has partial custody of her children and is responsible for taking them to school once a week.
Blake first went to court for too many tardies in 2010, when four of her children were in elementary school. (The oldest has since moved on to middle school and hasn’t had tardiness problems this year, Blake said in a February interview.)
In that case, she was found guilty of four Class 3 misdemeanor charges and paid $1,850 in fines, she said.
Blake said she has attention deficit-hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), which makes it particularly challenging for her to get her children to school on time. Even so, she said, they rarely arrive later than a few minutes after classes begin.
This school year, Blake said, a truancy officer called her to a meeting after her children had been late five times.
Her children’s on-time record improved. But then her driver’s license was suspended because of speeding violations, and she had to rely on a friend to drive the children to school.
Her kids were late again Jan. 18, this time by more than an hour. She was served a court summons — an experience that, for her, included handcuffing — Jan. 21.
Blake said that her kids love their classes and are doing well academically, and that the county’s schools and courts are overreaching with their enforcement efforts.
“It just really is insane,” she wrote in an e-mail.
Loudoun schools spokesman Wayde Byard said the school system doesn’t want to refer parents to the courts, but principals and teachers have a responsibility to guard the welfare of their students.
“We go out of our way to work with our parents,” Byard told The Post last month. “It’s not trying to meddle in someone’s affairs or dictate how someone raises their child — it’s to find out that they’re safe. That’s really our job.”