Woman To Begin Jail Term For Son's School Absences

December 01, 1991|By Samuel Goldreich | Samuel Goldreich,Staff writer

An Edgewood woman is scheduled to begin a 10-day jail sentence Wednesday for failing to send her son to school.

Lorraine Pencook, of the 1400 block of Willow Oak Drive, said Friday that her 14-year-old son is too ill to return to school.

But Circuit Judge Cypert Whitfill on Nov. 21 ordered her to servea work-release sentence with 10 nights in the county detention center after he found her guilty on appeal in September.

During the past three school years, the boy missed 289.5 days out of 540, accordingto court records.

A District Court judge had found Pencook guiltyin July and sentenced her to 10 days in jail without work release.

The boy, a seventh-grader at Bel Air Middle School, will remain in the custody of his father, Paul Pencook, who is separated from the mother.

Paul Pencook faces trial in District Court on the same charges as his wife. A Nov. 18 trial date was postponed.

"All I did wasanswer a call from my son saying, 'Please take me to the doctors. I'm going to pass out,' " Lorraine Pencook said. "They want to give me 10 days in jail. For what? Doing what any mother would do."

But the prosecutor in the case, Assistant State's Attorney Elizabeth Bowen,said Friday that Lorraine Pencook essentially acknowledged the case against her when she pleaded not guilty with an admission of facts.

Lorraine Pencook said that anemia and medication to treat asthma often leave her son too weak to attend class. The boy has not been in school since April 8.

Nancy S. Woodford, a Board of Education pupilservices counselor, charged the Pencooks in April with failing to send their son to school. Lorraine Pencook had sought certification from a Pennsylvania doctor who has treated the boy to allow the parents to seek home education for the youth, court records show.

But the doctor told Woodford that blood tests showed the boy had no physical problems, and a doctor in the county provided a certificate in March that stated his patient was able to attend school, according to courtrecords.

Lorraine Pencook said her son's condition changes from day to day and that Woodford ignored his medical history.

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