Bill would overhaul truancy response after mom's jail death

AP News
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Posted: May 10, 2016 5:43 PM

HARRISBURG, Pa. (AP) — The Pennsylvania Senate is advancing legislation in response to a 2014 jail-cell death of a mother of seven who was serving a weekend sentence for her children's absences from school.

The bill passed unanimously Tuesday and goes to the House of Representatives.

Berks County Democratic Sen. Judy Schwank says the bill would make teachers and school administrators responsible for truancy issues and get them involved early, rather than making courts the first response.

It also would offer parents the opportunity to perform community service, instead of going to jail, if they're convicted of violating school attendance requirements and can't afford the fine.

Eileen DiNino of Reading died of natural causes during a two-day sentence to erase about $2,000 in truancy fines and court costs that had accrued since 1999.