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Local Mother Jailed For Son's School Attendance Problems

MOUNT PLEASANT (KDKA) -- A Mount Pleasant mother found herself doing time in jail because of her son's attendance problems at school.

Jessica Heiser's son is a student at Rumbaugh Elementary School. The school district filed a complaint with the magistrate after her son missed nine unexcused days in a single school year.

She claims at least five of those days were spent in New York visiting family for the holidays.

"My kids get sick. Every child gets sick and you can't – you never know what's going to happen so maybe I forgot to write an excuse, but I'm human, you know, I'm a mom and things happen," Heiser said. "You have three kids – you can't remember to write each excuse."

However, Heiser didn't show up for court appearances or pay a $200 fine. She finally showed up for a payment determination hearing and was ordered to pay the fine in $45 increments.

"I understand the fine part, but to go to jail because you bring your kids on vacation – you shouldn't have to do that," she said.

She failed to make those payments the last four months and a bench warrant was issued Jan. 6. A sheriff came to her house the next day and took her to jail.

"I sat next to somebody who had three DWI's and the other girl had a robbery. … And she was like, 'Oh, why are you here?'

"And I said, 'I brought my kids on vacation,'" Heiser said.

Heiser only spent a few hours in jail before a friend paid her fine.

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