Proposal: Overhaul truancy response after Reading mom's jail death

Written by The Associated Press | May 11, 2016 4:46 AM

(Harrisburg) -- The state 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 and goes to the House.

Berks County Democratic Senator Judy Schwank says the measure 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.

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