New Mexico parents facing charges over kids’ school attendance

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CLOVIS, N.M. (KRQE) – An eastern New Mexico county is getting tough on parents who don’t make their kids go to school. Two moms now face criminal charges for their kids having excessive unexcused absences.

Being absent from school day after day can be detrimental to a student’s education.

“If they are not going into school now and that’s not important to the parent, then when they grow up and they become adults, that is going to show in their work history,” said Janice Martinez of Clovis.

In Clovis, being tardy or absent from school is becoming such a problem that parents are being criminally charged for letting their kids miss school.

The District Attorney’s office is stepping in and holding parents accountable for violating the compulsory school attendance law, which states, “a student with more than 10 unexcused absences in a school year is considered a habitual truant.”

Some parents are glad action is being taken.

“That is definitely a parent’s responsibility so I see where they are being held accountable because as parents we are to be held accountable for our children,” Janice Martinez said.

The District Attorney’s office has charged two mothers so far. One of them is Tiffanie Romero. She was arrested Tuesday for allowing her 6-year-old daughter to continually be tardy and miss school.

The other mom, Nadia Martinez, has a warrant out for her arrest due to her 15-year-old son having too many absences from high school.

Some parents believe there needs to be more resources to help kids stay in school.

“It’s just not a fair system. I think there needs to be resources for parents and not just threats of legal action,” said Cleo Romary of Clovis.

The District Attorney’s office says a large percentage of crime that happens in Clovis is from high school dropouts and they are trying to combat the issue.

The Curry County District Attorney believes if parents know they are being held accountable, they will make sure their children go to school. The District Attorney hopes this will decrease the number of dropouts.

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