LOS LUNAS, N.M. (KRQE) – A mother is facing charges for not returning her children’s two iPads to their schools. They were issued to the family during the pandemic when schools were forced to close.
“This is likely not a unique situation to Los Lunas schools, but districts across the state, but now that we are back to in-person learning, we need to hold our families accountable,” says Sidney Olivas, the Los Lunas Schools Communications Specialist.
The Los Lunas Schools District filed a police report last week. It wants two of its iPads back. A criminal complaint states Reyna Chavez-Garcia’s two children were issued iPads during the pandemic for virtual learning. Her children, one in middle school and one in elementary, are no longer enrolled in the Los Lunas School District.
They left without returning the iPads. Chavez-Garcia now faces embezzlement charges of over five hundred dollars. “This is no different than families having to pay for library books or textbooks that they have failed to return,” says Sidney Olivas, the Los Lunas Schools Communications Specialist.
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Police say Chavez-Garcia signed the school’s device contract, which states “students will return devices or they’ll be referred to law enforcement.”
A school resource officer says he tried multiple times to reach out to relatives and conducted a welfare check at the mother’s listed address but hasn’t been able to locate Chavez or the children. Los Lunas Schools says this is the first time they’ve had to involve law enforcement.
“We’re still trying to formalize a process uh trying to uh determine how we do our inventory, where these devices are missing from and how to continue to try and get these devices back to the district when they’re supposed to,” says Sidney Olivas, the Los Lunas Schools Communications Specialist.
Police say a GPS ping still shows the family’s listed home address for the tablets. However, it’s unclear the last time the students logged into the iPads.
KRQE News 13 reached out to the New Mexico Parent Teacher Association:
“Since the iPads were required by the school during online instruction, then the school should have some reasonable expectation that some will be damaged or lost.”– spokesperson for New Mexico Parent Teacher Association