Michigan Mom, 28, Gets Jail Over 6-Year-Old's Unexcused School Absences

A Michigan mother who allowed her 6-year-old to amass 26 unexcused school absences spent five days in jail and has been placed on nine months of probation.

Brittany Ann Horton, 28, was sentenced Nov. 16 after pleading guilty in May to truancy, according to a statement from the Muskegon County Prosecutor’s Office obtained by PEOPLE. In addition to her jail time and probation, Horton was ordered to pay $525 in fines.

She was first contacted by school administrators to resolve the absences back in October of 2017, according to the statement. After attempts to resolve the issue failed — including a meeting Horton didn’t attend — administrators handed the case over to prosecutors.

Letters and meetings were set up for Horton in February but she neglected to respond to attempts to contact her, according to the statement. In March, she was charged.

After failing to appear at her arraignment, Horton pleaded guilty in May, but her punishment was delayed to give her a chance to fix the problem, according to the statement.

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Instead, the child accumulated 14 additional unexcused days.

PEOPLE’s attempts to contact Horton were not successful.

The area’s Operation Graduation program steps in after nine unexcused absences — excused absence, like sickness, are not counted, according to the statement. Prosecution is considered a “last resort” after options like providing support to parents with the help of other agencies are exhausted, according to the statement.

“We go through extraordinary steps to resolve the issue without prosecution,” a spokesperson from the prosecutor’s office tells PEOPLE. “Over 90 percent of the cases that are sent to our office, no charges are filed. This case represents one out of many many cases where the mother absolutely refused to deal with the problem, and our office is committed to making sure the children of our community are not deprived of an education.”