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Girl placed in shelter care after she admits to hitting her mom

July 29, 2004|by PEPPER BALLARD

pepperb@herald-mail.com

A 14-year-old girl who admitted in Washington County juvenile court that she punched her mother in April shook her head, sobbing, on Wednesday when she was ordered to be placed in shelter care pending the results of a predisposition investigation.

The Western Heights Middle School student admitted that on April 22 at about midnight she punched her mother at their Salem Avenue home during an argument over a court hearing regarding the girl's poor school attendance.

A Department of Juvenile Services representative said the girl and her mother have an extensive history of problems and that the girl has been hospitalized for suicide attempts and alcohol overdoses.

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A Washington County Public Schools spokeswoman said the girl was absent from school 103 times last school year, nearly all of which were unexcused.

She said the girl's highest grade was 65 and her lowest grade "was a lot of zeroes."

The girl's mother, when given a chance to speak, said, "I've had a problem with (the girl) since first grade: Not wanting to go to school, not wanting to listen."

The girl cried and looked at her mother as she spoke.

"I'm tired of fighting her," the girl's mother said. "She needs someone to look over her and I can't do it 'cause she's not gonna listen to me."

The girl told Circuit Judge John H. McDowell, sitting in juvenile court, that she has had a problem with school for a while, but not because she doesn't want to learn.

"I don't like being in large groups," she said.

She said that she used to drink and "do a lot of drugs," but "now I write instead of hurting things."

"I do not want to be taken away from my mother," she said, crying.

McDowell told the girl that after looking over her report, he found she is "extremely intelligent" and is "someone who has the potential of doing what's expected of you."

He said that he thought her mother was maybe "courageous" to say she couldn't handle her now. He said it would be best for the girl to go into shelter care pending the results of a predisposition investigation.

After the ruling, the girl walked crying to her mother and tugged on her shirt.

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