York County Mom says school wrongfully administered truancy fines she can’t pay

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A York County mom wants her son’s school district to pay her back.  Dria Rhoades says the West Shore School District has denied her severely ill son’s doctor’s notes and now she could face jail time.

Rhoades says, “I paid about $1000, I still have at least $500 or $600 sitting in fines, I can’t afford to pay, I’m going to jail for.”

The West Shore School District denied Rhoades for her son’s absence from Red Land High School.  She says her son, Trevor Webster, is very sick.

“He’s been diagnosed with Asperger’s Syndrome, Tourette’s, epilepsy and cluster migraines,” says Rhoades.

Rhoades doesn’t know how she’ll pay for the truancy fines because of her conditions.

She says has, “Systemic lupus, kidney failure and other health issues and I’m on chemo and diagnosed as terminally ill and we live on a tight budget, single mom trying to support 3 children.”

A spokesperson for the district says under school policy, students must not miss 3 or more consecutive days of absence or 10 days throughout the school year.  In such cases, a student must have a doctor’s note turned in within 3 days of their absence.

Rhoades says, “They have copies of everything. He’s on an IEP plan with the school and they were made well aware of his medical conditions and they still play games.”

For over a year, the school district’s been sending letters to the family for failing to follow policy.  The local district issued fines. And Rhoades has been issued 4 warrants.  Failure to pay by the end of the week could place Rhoades under arrest.

She says, “I would like to see them return all the money that I had to pay out to them, and I have until Friday to pay the fines, I can’t do that…it’s not right.”

The district’s spokesperson says he can not comment specifically on Trevor’s case.




    • MyTakeOnIt

      However, good luck in getting past paid fines back from the clutches of the district.

  • Linda

    You folks need a proofreader! It's Tourette's, not turrets. It's Asperger's, not Asberger's. And it would be more accurate to say "doctor's excuses" rather than "doctor's notes." Doctor's notes are what they put in a chart; doctor's excuses are what you get when you're off from school or work.

    • Terry

      @ Linda: You are an idiot for taking such small things and trying to blow them out of proportion. It doesn't matter how well someone spells something, it is the idea, the content of WHAT they are saying. But you wouldn't know that, since you are so small-minded and short-sited, now would you?!

      • LiteracyMatters

        Don't blame Terry for crying out against the deplorable state of literacy in this country. You are part of the problem. It's "short-sighted." If you can't write properly, don't write at all. You're only broadcasting your own ignorance for all to see.

        • WhocareswhoIam

          I hope you are getting paid to go around correcting people, and you are part of the problem when you care more about spelling then people. The world is falling apart, and all you can think to do is correct someone's spelling. Get a life.

    • TJBasel

      Who cares!! The point was made, such a small mind to not concern yourself with the big picture.

  • Concerned party

    I personally know this woman and she is getting what she deserves. You reap what you sow.

    • WorldfullofHATE

      how much of a low down person do u have to be to wish this on someone regardless what they do in life. goes to show humanity out there

    • Republican2014

      I see a special place for you in the afterlife. Starts with an H, ends with the E double L.

    • TJBasel

      Followers of the antichrist, why? Cuz they are the ones who wish pain & suffering on others. When HE comes for me, I will watch you on the sidelines.

  • Intsftfatl

    The story was posted on FOX 43's Facebook page. Most of the comments were along the lines of 'The WSSD Administration is evil.', 'Have some basic human decency and compassion.', and 'The West Shore School District should be ashamed of what it is doing to this poor family.'

    I do not blame anyone for feeling this way. I understand why most people are upset, because the fines certainly do not help the family's financial struggle. I can sympathize with the boy and his family, having graduated from Red Land only last year. But not enough people here understand that the fining is not the school's fault. Truancy is against the law, so for the school district to refrain from giving fines would be ILLEGAL. If they didn't, the district would get in serious legal trouble with the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. Regardless of the status of the members of this family, the school district cannot make an exception, because the law doesn't.

    • Lane

      So you're saying that fining a dying woman in spite of her providing ample evidence that the absences are medically related is not fraudulent because the municipality is issuing these in spite of the medical evidence showing that these absences are legitimate and therefore not truancy. In shorter terms, you appear to be saying because a government body says so, it's right.

      Saying, "Truancy is against the law, so for the school district to refrain from giving fines would be ILLEGAL. If they didn't, the district would get in serious legal trouble with the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. Regardless of the status of the members of this family, the school district cannot make an exception, because the law doesn't," is the same argument that the defendants tried to use in Nuremburg when they said they were just following orders.

      Defending the municipality for an obviously and repeated immoral act by saying 'It's the law' is basically admitting to being an immoral person.

    • tobs

      there is a "compulsory fine , not to exceed $300" OK, if a fine must be levied, why not make it $1?

  • GimmeABreak

    I would tell the family… don't worry about it now. As someone above said, the court of public opinion will be holding session. I expect that the school will look into this matter, see that there are extenuating circumstances and this is not just some kid playing hookey, issue an apology and refund the money.

    I would suggest to the family to continue to apply pressure using every form of social media outlet available. Again, I've made comments along these lines before on different issues, if the school believes they are in the right not just legally but morally / decently then they should be prepared to defend their decision. I'm NOT a fan of social media BUT these are good uses for social media.

  • ᙓᔕᙅO

    As much as I support doing things by the book there are times that the rulebook should be set aside and circ,umstances should be evaluated. This is one of those times.

  • Tracy

    this is a link to a child with serious health problems the school did the same thing too…one time is a isolated incident…however this shows a pattern…and how many are there that never went to the media and just paid the school….sounds like they got a MOB mentality going on over there…who's pocket exactly are you lining…..ridiculous making money off sick children is wrong no matter how you word it…or try to explain it off..your wrong!!!! You should be ashamed….give them back their money!! Your no better than thieves!!!!

  • Hopeful

    This is not the first time this woman has cried the blues, to c who will help out. She has plenty of state money. She causes her issues. She also gets money for this child from the state. She has played the system for a long time. West shore school district is fair and you need to follow the rules. What goes around comes around as they say.

    • Terry

      Be careful who you say that to (or about), "what goes round, comes round", cuz it surely will catch up with you! I have experience in that "matter".

      • Thomas Baldwin

        HEY HOPEFUL,when people like you think that dying is easy and raising three kids and one of them is sick like this young man is easy
        Then why dont you give it a try ??
        All the money that she receives is put towards survival to make things work. And I fully believe that A-HOLES like you dont have a clue but sit back and Bitch about things you nothing about. So I would suggest getting off your sorry excuse and find something better to do !!

  • Wanderer

    I really hope that some of you that give these cruel and belittling remarks on here get exactly what u wish this woman to get. Who cares if she has gotten help before. Its not her askin to help her its her askin to HELP HER KID beings that hes the one missing school Sometimes i feel this world is full of to much hate and disgust. Telling her she deserves what she is getting. Maybe one day you will be ill and people will treat u the same way as you are treating her. Good luck though on getting the help needed. no one ill like in this case should have to pay crap for fines that were caused cause a child wasnt in school because of his HEALTH. yes it says above HIS health caused him to not be in school. Wow some ppls minds out there.

  • James

    When the rules don't make any sense then they need to be changed. As long as a student and parent have a verifiable doctors note excusing the abscence then it is not truancy. Life is not black and white and rules that don't make sense do not need to be followed. I can think of many health issues that can keep a child out of school for more than 3 consecutive days. If you get the Flu a person is usually sick for 5-7 days easy. I think these truancy laws are out of hand and need to be reexamined instead of ruining people's lives. And every case should be on a case by case basis and the facts should be looked at. Do we have no reasoning left? Just because something is written down in a law makes it sacrosanct? Give me a break. Give this lady back her money accept the doctor's notes and move on.

  • I Know

    Here's another opinion from someone who knows this family. I do feel truly sorry for her children and any illnesses they may have. BUT she has added to some of the poor health issues before they were even brought into this world. She ignored doctors orders when they were inside . She drank , smoked, did drugs while she was pregnant. If she had the choice between spending her little bit of money for food or beer, the beer and cigarettes won out. She is a queen manipulater and she is trying to manipulate public opinion now. Why doesn't Fox 43 interview the kids father. Ask him how she manipulated children and youth and local police. Again I feel sorry for the children but there has been opportunity for intervention but many have failed. These kids have not only missed school for illnesses, they also have missed school when they have wanted to finish the next level of video game that is currently being played. They've missed school when they have missed the bus and mom just didn't feel like driving them. Somebody else mentioned she is receiving money for not only her disability but her child's disability as well. That is true the star takes very good care of them. But she is the one that has made poor choices in her life and they have effected the children too. Now she wants you to help and your pity in a situation that she has helped create. And those of you who say she can't create these health issues. She could have taken steps to minimize some of these problems early on. She chose to party instead. Check into her HISTORY. When was the last time she actually held a job. She had one once for about a week. She INJURED herself on the job. Refused to participate in therapy. Sued the company and 4 years later was awarded 50k dollars lump sum. It was gone in 3 months. She also was receiving compensation based on what her weekly income was going to be if she had continued working. That was on top of the $50k. That wasn't good enough she sued again to have this changed over to another large lump sum payment. Where is that money now. If this mother who is crying for help now had managed her money properly and used this money and the money that the state now gives her to compensate her living and medical bills now she wouldn't be having the financial problems that she having now. She is not the poor little thing that the West Shore School district is picking on. If she just got of bed and sent these kids to school like a good mother when the kids weren't truly suffering from illness she wouldn't be in the mess she is in today.

  • Jessica C.

    Red Land is a terrible high school. When I was a freshman there 5 years ago they tried to pull the EXACT SAME stunt they're pulling now. Though I was missing school due to severe depression caused by bullying, which the school chose to ignore. The days absent were covered by the doctors excuse I handed in, they some how 'misplaced" it or that "I never handed it in" & sent my family a truancy fine. Its funny how Red Land High School has a habit of "MISPLACING" doctors excuses & replacing them with truancy fines.

  • Bob

    If you’re going to be outraged, be outraged at another scam lawsuit in the making that will create all kinds of drama and payout in drug money.

  • Harold

    Judge not least ye be judged

    I would go to the school board and any further communication with the school would be duplicated and sent registered mail.

  • Corlia

    The family should contact the Pennsylvania Department of Protection and Advocacy Telephone: 800-692-7443 or email at ppa@ppainc.org. They can often provide free legal representation and advocacy services to qualifying individuals.


    I had dealings with WSSD along the same lines. I was sent a letter informing me of impending fines if my son missed any more school. My reply was facts stating that the SCHOOL nurse had sent him home 80 % of the times that he was absent and ALL the other times were covered by a doctor's excuse.
    They still insisted and I informed them that any further communications were to be done through my attorney and if they continued to harass me or my son that I would be filing a lawsuit and go to the media.
    We never had another contact with them nor did my attorney.
    We purchased a business hours from WSSD and subsequently moved away before my youngest started in high school in the WSSD.
    My school taxes are 1/3 what WSSD are and my child has received a much better education than he would have at the hands of, in my opinion, the most horrible school district in PA.

  • Gregg

    sounds like the school is heartless and strong arming to make money for
    their own private use……momma sue the school what the hell talk about bullys in school sue them for not adding compassion as a subject hit them up for millions why mess around ….as for the person who only cares to correct how a person spells or word things aint got a brain of common sence well idiot get your head out of your ass you live in a imperfect world that all the powers to be cant not change it if your so superior why havent you take your intelligence
    build a space craft and search for life
    forms that suits your taste most likely
    thay laugh their asses off at the idiot that landed on their flesh eating plantm

  • Republicans2014

    Yup. This is another prime example of the corruption and abuse of the government that finds itself giving people like this woman and child a hard time, by fining them to death over the trivial facts of ill and or certain disabilities are still discriminated upon. This is another reason why my kids will be institutionalized at home. No public or private institutions. Because they also teach that Commie-core crap.

  • George Tirebiter

    I'm sure all those kind souls standing up for this lady and her kids would be happy to pay her fines and keep her out of jail. Maybe one of you who are close to this will post an address we could send money to. I hear she likes lump sums, so maybe you could post HER address, and we'll let her pay the fines from that 'sympathy fund'.
    Barring that, if she is arrested, the state will take over her medical costs, and when DCS makes her kids wards of the state, their medical bills will be picked up by the taxpayers as well.

  • Andrew

    I cannot for the life of me understand how in the hell these people can sleep at night knowing what they are doing to this woman and her children. She obviously have some very good reasons for what has happened and I firmly believe that they should be helping her instead of killing her more then her medical conditions. What the hell is wrong with people today.

  • Jim Trahan

    This is the sort of thing that happens in a society in which the rulers have hearts of stone and brains of jelly!

  • OMerGawd

    Wow! Just Wow! $1600 for missing school?! Thank God I live in Canada. That's ridiculous. I hope her boy feels better and the school reverses this stupid money grab.

  • OMerGawd

    Really? Again, glad I live where I do. If you don't like the school your kid is going, we as parents have full right to pull our kids from that school and send them to another one. We may need to provide own transportation, but we are allowed to switch schools anytime we want. And our school board wouldn't even think about jailing someone because their kid wasn't in school.

    If a parent didn't care and didn't send their elementary students to school, then the kids are taken away. Once in grade 9 though, that's where it ends. The laws here only require kids to attend elementary school.

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