JONESBORO, AR (KAIT) – The Jonesboro Police Department says a mother put her 10-year-old son in danger, forcing him to walk almost five miles to school as punishment.
Police cited Valerie Borders, 34, on Monday for endangering the welfare of a minor in the second degree.
Officers determined Borders forced her son to make a 4.5-mile trek to school from their home at Fairview Drive. Nequavion Borders, 10, had recently lost his bus-riding privileges for the fifth time from MicroSociety magnet school, located at 1110 West Washington.
His mother sent him to school on foot Monday as punishment for the repeated suspensions. He only made it a few blocks before he was picked up by police.
"She did the right thing," Nequavion said. "She knew that I had been suspended off the bus five days, so she didn't do nothing wrong. She made me walk. I just had to walk. They shouldn't have picked me up. I could've walked by myself."
Valerie Borders did not want to make a comment, but she did allow her son to speak on her behalf exclusively to Region 8 News. He says he now realizes why his mother wanted to teach him a lesson and "not to just get on the bus and act a fool."
Nequavion made it to the busy intersection of Highland and Stadium and crossed the Liberty Bank parking lot. A security guard approached the boy, apparently surprised to see a child in the area alone.
"Anytime you see a child out walking like that, ask yourself a question – is that safe for the child?" Sgt. Lyle Waterworth with Jonesboro Police said. "If you wouldn't want your child doing it, we probably don't need somebody else's child doing it."
Waterworth says the guard did the right thing by calling police. According to the police report, when officers arrived, the boy asked them, "Please don't take me home, mother will beat me." He also told police that he was advised not to stop walking or talk to anyone until he made it to school.
Police drove the boy to school and then paid a visit to his mother, who was at home on vacation from work. Police wrote Valerie Borders a ticket and gave her a court date.
She will appear in Craighead County District Court on Monday, February 27. If convicted she could face up to a year in jail and a $1,000 fine.
Borders' son, however, said he does not want his mother to get into trouble for him misbehaving. He says he knows now to behave better on the bus.
"She should not be going to court," Nequavion said. "I learned my lesson. That was me that was getting suspended off the bus."
Region 8 News will continue to track this story and provide any updates, as they become available.