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Parents of Doña Ana County students convicted on truancy charges over school attendance

Courtesy of MGN Online.

A dozen parents were convicted on truancy charges Wednesday over their child’s excessive absences.

New Mexico law states the parent of guardian of a school-aged child is responsible for their school attendance, and prosecution is typically pursued when parents don’t address the issues with school officials.

“As a parent, I understand the many challenges parents face in assuring that their children attend school,” said Doña Ana County District Attorney Mark D’Antonio. “Nevertheless, the statistics are clear. There is a direct link between students who don’t finish school and those who end up in prison later in life. There is a direct link to adult poverty. Our aim is to break that cycle.”

On Wednesday, 12 parents pleaded no contest to charges of failure to enforce compulsory school attendance.

Two parents failed to appear at the hearing and the judge issued bench warrants for their arrest.

Four other parents rescheduled their hearings.

In New Mexico, a person convicted of truancy is guilty of a petty misdemeanor, officials said. However, repeated offenses can lead to jail time.

At Wednesday’s hearing, one parent was convicted on a second offense. She was placed on probation for six months, plus court-ordered services through the public school system, officials said.

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