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Center Ossipee mother charged in daughters’ truancy

OSSIPEE — Police charged a 34-year-old Ossipee mother in connection with the chronic truancy of her two daughters.

According to Ossipee Police Department Detective Sgt. Robert King, Mandy Patch of Center Ossipee was charged with two violation level counts of “Duty of Parent; Compulsory Attendance by Pupil,” by failing to cause her two children to attend school. The children, a 12-year-old Ossipee Central School student and a 14-year-old Kingswood Regional Middle School student, have been absent or late more than 40 days this school year, according to police.

King said Patch was ordered to appear for arraignment in 3rd Circuit Ossipee District Court on July 17. The charges are violation-level offenses punishable by a fine of up to $1,000.

Police rarely intervene in truancy cases, said King, adding that this was the first time the department has filed this charge against a parent. Previously in school truancy cases, police would file a “Children in Need of Services” (CHINS) petition with the court’s family division, said King, but that practice has been abolished. Requirements for filing a CHINS petition changed in September 2011.
In the Patch case, King said he received complaints from both the school district’s truancy officer, Lloyd Wood, and Ossipee Central School Principal Beth Hertzfeld after officials unsuccessfully attempted to resolve the truancy issue with the mother.
King said the children were not being home-schooled, and that police were not provided with any justification or excuse for the extended absences.

“The school reached out to her several times,” he said.
Police intervened as a “last resort,” he said.

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