Piecuch argues attendance issue in state Supreme Court

MIDDLEBURG – Does Pennsylvania’s school attendance law apply to kindergartners?  That is the topic of debate in the truancy case of Commonwealth v. Jennifer Kerstetter.  Snyder County District Attorney Mike Piecuch argued the issue in Pennsylvania Supreme Court Tuesday.

He said, “The plain language of the Public School Code requires parents to make sure their children are attending school once they are enrolled or reach age 8, whichever comes first… There is no truancy exemption for students enrolled in kindergarten.”

Kerstetter had been cited in late 2011 for violating the school attendance law after several unexcused absences by her children, who had been enrolled as kindergartners in the Midd-West School District.  She took her case to Snyder County court in June 2012 and argued that because school districts are not required to provide kindergarten, then kindergartners should be exempt from compulsory school attendance.

Snyder County President Judge Michael Sholley rejected Kerstetter’s argument. She then appealed to the Commonwealth Court and lost in February 2013.  Kerstetter then appealed to the Pennsylvania Supreme Court.  The Supreme Court heard oral arguments on the case Tuesday.  (Codi Jade)

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