By Stephanie Watson

MOUNT PLEASANT (KDKA) — A Mount Pleasant mother found herself doing time in jail because of her son’s attendance problems at school.

Jessica Heiser’s son is a student at Rumbaugh Elementary School. The school district filed a complaint with the magistrate after her son missed nine unexcused days in a single school year.

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She claims at least five of those days were spent in New York visiting family for the holidays.

“My kids get sick. Every child gets sick and you can’t – you never know what’s going to happen so maybe I forgot to write an excuse, but I’m human, you know, I’m a mom and things happen,” Heiser said. “You have three kids – you can’t remember to write each excuse.”

However, Heiser didn’t show up for court appearances or pay a $200 fine. She finally showed up for a payment determination hearing and was ordered to pay the fine in $45 increments.

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“I understand the fine part, but to go to jail because you bring your kids on vacation – you shouldn’t have to do that,” she said.

She failed to make those payments the last four months and a bench warrant was issued Jan. 6. A sheriff came to her house the next day and took her to jail.

“I sat next to somebody who had three DWI’s and the other girl had a robbery. … And she was like, ‘Oh, why are you here?’

“And I said, ‘I brought my kids on vacation,’” Heiser said.

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Heiser only spent a few hours in jail before a friend paid her fine.