Asked in Family Law and Education Law for Tennessee

Q: My son has Aspergers, ADHD, and depression, and won't go to school. How do I avoid jail?

He has been in inpatient care for suicidal thoughts, been run through all of the school system's options, and is just too physically big to use force to make him go. I've exhausted all options at my disposal. His mother isn't in the picture and my job is already at risk due to missed hours over this problem. Now, Aspergers is being removed from the USA disorders list and members of his IEP group seem anxious for it to happen so they can be hostile about his truancy. How do I keep myself out of prison and him out of juvy?

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2 Lawyer Answers

Leonard Robert Grefseng

  • Columbia, TN
  • Licensed in Tennessee

A: Regrettably, it sounds like "juvy" is your only option. You should consider filing a petition in juvenile court to have the boy declared "unruly." This is what normally happens when a child won't submit to parental authority. Perhaps getting him to juvenile court will help him submit or the court knows of some other program, but keep in mind that the last resort is always juvenile detention. Consult an experienced family law attorney in your area as soon as possible.

Marjorie A Bristol

  • Education Law Lawyer
  • Goodlettsville, TN
  • Licensed in Tennessee

A: If your son has an IEP, then you need to ask for a Team Meeting to discuss options. He may qualify for home bound until he works through some of his issues. If he does not have an IEP, then you need to see if he qualifies for one. The best way that you can also make sure that you won't be in trouble for truancy is to make sure that he is getting the care that he needs. His treatment team can write letters to the school explaining the situation. I highly recommend that you contact an attorney who has dealt with situations like this and get them on board to help you. Many will work with you on a payment plan.

Joy E Nguyen agrees with this answer

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