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Mother arrested after kids rack up over 50 school absences each

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CHESTERFIELD COUNTY, Va. (WTVR) -- Lakesha Cheatham, age 38, was arrested for failing to send her children to school, according to Chesterfield Police.

Chesterfield Police said the criminal complaint was filed by a truant officer and the investigation indicated that Cheatham's three children each had at least 50 absences from school over the course of nearly two years.

"You have to go the adults in charge, because it's not the young people," said education expert, Dr. Bill Bosher.

Dr. Bosher does not know the details on this specific case, but said this kind of situation happens after schools have exhausted all other methods.

"A social worker can do a social history, attempt to go into the home to try and work with the family, try and find the cause," said Bosher.

CBS 6 went to Cheatham's home on Wednesday. A friend said she was not there at the time and did not want to comment on the complaint filed.

A spokesperson for Chesterfield County schools said the division will not comment on this specific court case.

For Bill Phillips, education is a top priority for his children.  The father of two said his children want to go to school everyday.

"We rarely have occasions where my kids wouldn't attend school," said Phillips. "That's surprising to me, why a parent wouldn't place a priority on their kids being in school."

According to sources, Cheatham has a home address listed in Richmond.

CBS 6 also contacted Richmond Public Schools. A spokeswoman said the school system is also looking into the case.


  • Ron Melancon

    Why did it take so long to do this? Her children will never catch up and this is a prime example of irresponsible parents. Her children will be rmployees of the service industry and will have a high mountain to overcome all because of irresponsible parents

  • Shari L Burton

    It is not ALWAYS the parents fault….. like I am in a situation with my son who is 16 n misses alot i try everything n nothing works and I CANNOT JUST GRAB HIM AND TAKE HIM TO SCHOOL so no its not always the parents !!!!!

    • Ken

      Must be Caroline. I had the same problem & they wouldn’t help. I was told by juvenile intake it was nothing they could unless the school took action. The school never did. Even had promises from truant officer to do something about it. He did nothing. This went on for 3 years. The schools here were real screwed up. I don’t know about now. Its been a few years.

      • Big Mama

        Yes Caroline is the worst….Kids across the street from me missed 3 days out of 5, for the last two years and nothing was done about it.

    • Jr

      Yea.. It is your fault.. You let your 16 year old walk all over you.. Probably have never disciplined him a day in your life.. That’s what happens when your kid doesn’t respect you.

    • Sharon Wells

      Oh yes you can grab him! He is the child, you are the adult (or supposed to be)! Call the school if you cannot get him to go. They will send the truance office to pick their lazy a__ up and make them go!

  • SMH

    Wow! This woman gets on here n voice her problems n receive no empathy at all. Who the heck are y’all to say “take away luxuries, lack of discipline or respect?”. You don’t know the moms plight! There are many cases of kids from 2 parent, Christian households that experience same dilemna. Then you have indigent single mom whose child is obedient and excels as an adult. With society giving these kids “rights” you just don’t know the outcome. Miss Burton I wish you much success in getting needed assistance.

  • Becky

    Disagree with Dr. Bosher and maintain that it has to go to the Tax Paid Professional School Officials,
    In-Charge. Teachers didn’t noticed in two years whether these kids were present or not? Teachers didn’t even notice for report card? Surely IF the schools have standards for attendance requirements, someone within the school, is In-Charge of maintaining and sustaining those
    standards and certainly in a timely manner..

  • Warren

    It isn’t teachers not noticing. Teachers have no power when it comes to things like this. It’s higher ups and red tape. There are multiple things that need to happen, in order to get results like the story above. I have reported students with excess absences and nothing is ever done about it because excuses of bad home life are always used. Oh poor baby! Don’t have kids if you’re not going to take care of them.

    • Becky

      If not the teachers then, it is still the highly trained, professional, tax paid, Government school administrators stepping in their own created piles of it. The ever present, contradictions of
      Government school having standards, rules, codes, and no tolerance policies
      and the Government’s Political Correct-Mess of a Built In Excuse System for any and all occasions, standards, rules, codes and tolerance. Then the top level government officials hide and run from their responsibility and accountability and blame others. They built this and set their own trap
      of Contradictions.

  • henry

    she could call al or jessie ,maybe the local naacp and see if they could help her with this issue,or are they busy?seems to be more of an issue in minority families ,well minority mothers I mean because we know dads not around.

  • Glen Allen

    The parent needs to find out why it is that the child does not want to go to school, and then get the appropriate help for the child. A teacher cannot help if the student is not in school, nor can the school. If the kid is dealing with drugs, get him the help he needs, even if that involves getting him arrested. The kid may also be a victim of bullying, or have emotional problems, or………………………..the list goes on, but the child is the responsibility of the parent, and the parent must take control of the situation. I believe most (if not all) school administrators will work with the parent, but the parent has to show the initiative and do their part. Screaming, yelling, or threatening the child is not the best way to get to the root of the problem.

  • Jessica Cheverie

    Well this is kinda stupid tbh. Back in grade 5/6, I NEVER wanted to go to school. I missed at least 1-2 days of school a WEEK because I always came up with excuses not to go (THAT’S how much I hated it lol). I definitely missed 50+ days of school over those years, and guess what? Still came out fine, my parents weren’t arrested or anything of the sort. Just going and arresting the parents is also silly considering it’s not ALWAYS the parents. Even if they threaten to take away luxuries or whatnot, if the kid doesn’t want to go to school, they will find ways to avoid going to school. Especially when it comes to high school students, if they have their own car or they meet up and ditch classes, and can afford their own luxuries, etc. And trust me, the teachers DO notice. It’s a big part of why they do roll call in the morning. They notice, and that’s how the parents and authorities find out about it in the first place.

  • Aimee

    This is sad and glad CCPS is doing something. That being said why did CBS interview random soccer guy? Is he a teacher or aministrator at the school? Or the children’s soccer coach? Or just a random person with an opinion that gets his kids to school?

    • John

      I was wondering why they interviewed the Soccer Dad. He has nothing to do with this situation.
      There were no details provided in the story for why the children had the absences. It could be because the family has a lot of medical problems. Or it could be that there are behavioral issues and the mother has lost control.

  • Paula

    Henry you sound like someone that miss days & week out of school. You sound so ueducated your self. Why jessie or Al? Who said what race that student is. Get a life and stop trying to make trouble.

  • Paula

    Shari never let a child know you can’t do anything with him. You are the parent. When it get to a point that you can’t handle your child call for outside help. You will be the one in trouble if you don’t. Don’t let a child run your household. As long as a child is living in your house, eating your food, using your electric & water he has to go by your rules

    • Justin

      Hi, I live in Jackson county AL, My mother is having Extreme trouble with a situation like this of her own with problimatic children of her own that are my siblings. We are at the point that if they miss 3 more days of school, she will be arrested. I am trying to find ways to get her help and I’m digging all over the internet to find help for her to get these 2 to school, both are teens and they are very destructive when they do not get their way, using it to manipulate her. She is doing all she can, where should I start looking to get her some help here? Any tips? As thats all I am asking for, tips and people we should contact for help. Any help would be much appreciated to get them to school so that she is not arrested. Please.

  • Little Black Sambo

    Ize finally quits skool when ize were 26. I make it threw the 3rd grades. Ize was poe and gots free brekfest ans lunch so ize figure whys work? Finally Lakreshachiquita tolds me bouts food stamp and free rent. Ize sleeps all
    days now.

  • Donna

    Parents have to take charge…don’t tell me it’s none of my business.. if kids aren’t in school they are a heck of a lot more likely to find trouble and when that happens we all pay. I have always told mine if the day comes that you won’t listen to me I will find someone you will listen to. That could be the courts, police, juvenile home, military school or a relative that may be able to help but I would never give up on my child by allowing her to miss school and ruin her future. My job as a parent is to make her a productive adult not to allow her to do whatever she feels like.

  • Ray Alexander

    It’s about what the students are seeing in the home as much as anything else. Children that are sick or there are extraordinary circumstances, that’s one thing; otherwise, it is about the parents. My wife and I have always made it our mission in life to go to work. Both of us have hardly ever called in sick in the almost 30 years we’ve lived in Richmond and had our children go through the school system. When we miss work, it’s earned vacation. We plan our lives around the school calendar. We think education is important. As a result, and the best I am able to remember, I can count on one hand the number of days my 2 daughters missed any school from Middle School through high school. I just can’t remember the elementary schools but I know they rarely missed there either. In addition, my son NEVER missed a day of school in his 13 years, i.e. kindergarten through 12th grade. To put that simply, he earned Perfect Attendance and was duely recognized by the school system and his peers. Now, my daughters are both school teachers and my son has an educational degree, looking for a job, and doesn’t miss work. Yes, it is about the example and attitude set by the parents.

  • Paula

    Justin I know that you are worry about your family but your mother have to go to a judge or social sevice and tell them to take them and put them in a place for them to stay 24 hours If they don’t care about themseves then it about time that they see your mother is fed up. Sometime a parent have to stop letting a child ruining their life as well as their own. I hope things work out for you and your mother

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