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Mother Charged After Claiming To Protect Child

Posted at 6:11 PM, Apr 11, 2016

A Smyrna mother was charged with truancy for pulling her special needs student out of school after he claimed he was being abused.

Wendy Walton never thought it would come to this, but Monday she surrendered herself at the Rutherford County Jail.

"My name is Wendy Walton and I'm here to turn myself in on an arrest warrant," Walton told the clerk.

She was charged with truancy, because her 17-year-old son Spencer was no longer attending classes at Stewarts Creek High School in Smyrna.

"The law says Spencer is afforded a free education which includes a safe educational environment," said Walton.

Spencer is a special needs student. He is autistic with Cerebral Palsy and seizure disorder. Walton said her son kept coming home from school hurt telling her about incidents in the classroom.

She complained to the school, but said nothing changed. "I have documentation of every injury," said Walton.

Therefore, she pulled Spencer out of classes until she she felt steps were taken to make her son safe.

The school called about the repeated absences. After more than two dozen calls a truancy officer called with this message: 

"I filed a warrant yesterday for failure to get your child to school. What I would do is go turn myself in," said the officer.

Walton knew Spencer wanted to go back, but she said, barring any changes, she planned to keep him out the rest of this year and then enroll him in another school next year.

"My whole life is committed to him," said Walton. Walton did not spend any time behind bars, but was scheduled to appear before a judge.

The juvenile court issued the warrant for her arrest at the request of the county. The case file was confidential because it involves a child.

However,  in Tennessee parents are held accountable when their children accumulate unexcused absences.