Clovis parents charged, children truant for more than 25 days of

Clovis parents charged, children absent for more than 25 days of school

CLOVIS, New Mexico -

Four Clovis parents have been charged with failure to enforce compulsory school attendance from the 2018-2019 school year. The charge is a petty misdemeanor.

New Mexico law states a student with more than 10 unexcused absences in a school year is considered a "habitual truant". A first time conviction for this criminal offense is not punishable by jail time; however, any second or subsequent offense is punishable by six months in jail and a $500 fine.

The children of the charged parents had an excess of 25 absences in a short period of time and no valid reasons as to why their children were not in school. The children range in ages from 10 to 13-years-old.

Cases of chronic truancy only reach the District Attorney's Office for prosecution after numerous attempts by the Clovis school system and Children, Youth and Families to assist in correcting the chronic truancy issue. The DA's Office then takes the additional step to reach out again to the parents of the truant child to try and correct the problem prior to proceeding with the prosecution of the parent.

"While this charge might not carry a very stiff penalty, statistics have shown that a huge percentage of crimes committed in the Ninth Judicial District were committed by high school dropouts. The District Attorney's Office is committed to doing everything possible to reduce the amount of crime overall in our community which means enforcing compulsory school attendance and continuing to be proactive with our Abolish Chronic Truancy (ATC) program," District Attorney Andrea Reeb said.

Abolish Chronic Truancy is a program created to combat students dropout rates and increase school attendance. The popular mascot, "Squatch", visits schools in the district twice a year to promote perfect attendance. Incentives and prizes are given out to students who have perfect attendance.

Since the programs inception, attendance has increased significantly.

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