The Daily Item, Sunbury, PA

November 19, 2013

State Supreme Court hears Snyder County truancy case today

By Marcia Moore
The Daily Item

— SELINSGROVE — A truancy case from Snyder County will be heard by the Pennsylvania Supreme Court today.

District Attorney Michael Piecuch will be arguing the issue that landed in the state’s top court after attorney Patrick Johnson appealed a Court of Common Pleas ruling to not dismiss the summary citation against parent Jennifer Kerstetter.

Kerstetter was cited for truancy in 2012 for not sending her twins to kindergarten at Midd-West School District.

She argued in district court that kindergarten is not compulsory, but lost. Kerstetter appealed to county court and sought to have the summary charge dismissed, but the motion was denied early this year.

Johnson, on Kerstetter’s behalf, appealed to the state Supreme Court which agreed to hear arguments. He couldn’t be reached for comment Monday.

Piecuch said he will argue the language of the state school code of 1944 makes attendance mandatory.

He turned to the Pennsylvania Department of Education for an interpretation of the statute and was told they will not take a position.

Though the state is not required to provide kindergarten education, Piecuch said he agrees with Midd-West School administrators that attendance in kindergarten is mandatory once the child is enrolled in school.

“You don’t have to enroll your child in kindergarten, but once you do, they need to be there,” he said.

Kerstetter could not be reached Monday for comment. Her children are now attending first grade, Piecuch said.