PITTSBURGH — Cyerra Ellis was stunned to find a warrant for her and her husband’s arrest in their mailbox.
The reason for the warrants and a $725 fine — truancy.
According to North Hills Middle School, Ellis’ child has missed more than 100 days of school.
“I have no words for it. It’s been really rough. There have been times where I have cried. Broken down. Wondering how we’re going to make it,” said Ellis.
The family is trying to care for their four children, with only one income, while facing eviction and bankruptcy.
Ellis is a nurse who goes into the COVID-19 units of local nursing homes.
Her husband, previously part of the hotel industry, is out of work.
They assumed their child was logging in for online classes.
“I can’t be on top of her 24/7 because if I don’t work, we don’t have a roof over our head or a car,” said Ellis.
Under Pennsylvania law, students are considered truants if they have three or more unexcused absences in a school year.
The school district stated it did everything it could before getting the courts involved, including multiple letters and emails as well as failed home visits.
“Is somebody going to knock on my door and take me to jail? I don’t want my kids seeing something like that,” said Ellis.