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Mom ordered to attend school faces judge… again

UPDATE: Sixth time’s a charm

NEW CANEY- A Porter mother, ordered by Pct. 4 Justice of the Peace James Metts on April 23 to attend school with her habitually truant son, made another appearance at a hearing last Thursday afternoon.

Metts previously told Margaret Campbell Butler that she must take her 15-year-old son to his New Caney ISD school and go to classes with him to make sure he stayed. Metts warned Butler that even if she was somehow unable to get her son to class, she had better show her commitment to her son’s education. Otherwise, he said, she would be in contempt of court and would go to jail.

After last month’s court order, Butler withdrew her son from NCISD and, at some point, enrolled him in an Aldine school. She appeared before Metts with documentation showing that while her son had not attended school faithfully as ordered, Butler followed the judge’s instructions, at least partially, and went to his new school alone.

Metts had Butler and her son approach the bench where he went over the paperwork as Butler began to cry and fidgeted, not knowing whether her efforts were adequate to satisfy the court order.

“I’m not going to put you in jail today, even though you didn’t do exactly what I told you,” Metts said. “I’m not mean spirited- I’m a fair person and I have a heart.”

Butler’s son appeared calm, if not unconcerned, in contrast to his mother. The student has followed the pattern of those Metts has begun sending to the county jail when all else failed. However, at 15, the young man is not old enough to place in jail for three days like those who are age 17 and older. Instead, the burden falls on his mother.

The judge made a brief and to the point statement to Butler’s son.

“If you don’t get with the program, you’re headed for a world that you can’t imagine,” Metts said.

Thursday marked Butler’s sixth appearance with her son before Judge Metts.

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