Middle schooler arrested for having too many absences

Published: Dec. 15, 2018 at 6:51 PM EST
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A junior high student in Oklahoma was put in handcuffs and taken to an intervention center… because the school believed he had missed too many days of class.

The student's mother is outraged, but the Muskogee Public School system says it's all perfectly legal.

"It’s my fault! Exactly! It’s not my 14 year old sons fault. He doesn't have a car to get himself there."

Stephanie - who doesn't want to use her last name - says she's upset her son, a student at Alice Robertson Junior High, was treated like a criminal.

"I could visibly see marks on his wrists,” Stephanie said.

And taken to the community intervention center - or CIC - located behind the Muskogee County Jail Wednesday for missing too many days of school.

"Even if it's 20, they shouldn't have handcuffed him in front of everybody."

She says most of the days her son missed were excused with doctor's notices.

As for the others…

"Kids get sick, and they don't always have to have a doctor’s note."

"Four absences in a four week period can lead to a possible citation. That's Oklahoma state statute. It’s been on the books for decades now,” said Steve Braun, Director of Communications at Muskogee Public Schools.

Muskogee Public Schools says they can't comment on specific cases, but Braun says on the fifth absence, a citation is issued and parents must sign, which he says they typically do.

“Parent comes in, signs the citation, and goes about the day."

If they don't sign, Braun says, students are taken to the CIC, where parents are forced to pick up their kids and sign the citation.

"I am willing to take responsibility for the days that he did miss,” Stephanie said.

Stephanie says she understands, but she believes the school could have handled it a different way

"Them arresting him, putting handcuffs on him, and leaving marks on him... and traumatizing him, in my perspective, is unacceptable."