Clovis Cracks Down on Truancies - KFDA - NewsChannel 10 / Amarillo News, Weather, Sports

Clovis Cracks Down on Truancies

"I don't think it's fair, if that's what they feel they need to do they need to investigate more into what's really going on, not just take one side of the story they need to look at both," says Ruby Chavez . "I don't think it's fair, if that's what they feel they need to do they need to investigate more into what's really going on, not just take one side of the story they need to look at both," says Ruby Chavez .
"We're prosecuting parents whose kids who have had 30 or 40  un-excused absences and there is no purpose for it, they're not going school," said Assistant Trial Attorney Ben Cross. "We're prosecuting parents whose kids who have had 30 or 40 un-excused absences and there is no purpose for it, they're not going school," said Assistant Trial Attorney Ben Cross.

New Mexico parents face fines, community service and even jail time if they violate the Compulsory Attendance Law. It says parents could be criminally prosecuted if they have habitually truant students.

The 9th District Attorney's office in Clovis tell me they already have active cases for this school year and that they've prosecuted 20 parents this past school year. Ruby Chavez is one of those parents.

She says "I don't think it's fair, if that's what they feel they need to do they need to investigate more into what's really going on, not just take one side of the story they need to look at both."

Ruby was convicted, she now has a petty misdemeanor and has paid a five hundred dollar fine. She even spent 9 hours in jail, and says she now understands the importance of the law.

"It's a good thing they do need their education."

Assistant Trial Attorney Ben Cross who handles the truancies for the district says most parents who are convicted receive a small fine, parenting classes and sometimes community service.   He assures us parents are not prosecuted for extreme circumstances.

"We're prosecuting parents whose kids who have had 30 or 40  un-excused absences and there is no purpose for it, they're not going school," said Cross.

Like in the case of Ruby. She says this has been an invaluable experience and wants to warn other parents to do all they can to get their kids to school.

"See what all these kids are doing out there to prevent them from making these wrong moves in the future." said Ruby.

Cross adds " I really want parents to understand that it's not my goal to prosecute parents, my goal is to help children."

Studies show that 75% of the prison population did not graduate from high school, and only half of them have jobs.

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