Clovis, NM – Andrea Reeb, Ninth Judicial District Attorney, announced today that two Clovis mothers have been charged with Violation of the Compulsory School Attendance Law per New Mexico Statute 22-12-7, which is a petty misdemeanor.
Nadia Martinez, age 39, of Clovis, is charged with allowing her 15 year old son to have 21 unexcused absences from school as of September of this year. The matter had been referred to the Juvenile Probation Department four times this school year, and after Martinez’s failure to meet with school officials or the probation office, it was referred to the District Attorney for investigation. When an investigator from the Ninth Judicial District Attorney’s Office visited the home, he found the child to be at home with Martinez on a school day. A warrant is outstanding for Nadia Martinez and law enforcement are actively looking for her.
Tiffanie Romero, age 24, of Clovis, was arrested yesterday for allowing her 6 year old daughter to have 15 days of unexcused absences as of October 10 of this year, in addition to 11 days in which the child was tardy. Repeated attempts were made by the Clovis Schools and the Juvenile Probation Office to assist Romero with the attendance of her daughter. The matter was ultimately referred to the District Attorney’s Office for investigation.
Per the NM law, 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 for Failure to Enforce Compulsory School Attendance is punishable by six months in jail and/or a $500 fine.
Statistics have shown that a huge percentage of crimes committed in the Ninth Judicial District were committed by high school dropouts. Abolish Chronic Truancy is a proactive program created by the Ninth Judicial District Attorney’s Office to combat student dropout rates and increase school attendance. The popular mascot, “Squatch”, visits schools in the district twice a year to promote perfect attendance. Since the program’s inception, attendance has increased significantly.
District Attorney, Andrea Reeb stated, “While the District Attorney’s Office tries to take a very proactive approach to keeping children in school with our Abolish Chronic Truancy program, there comes a point where the schools and juvenile probation have exhausted all means to get habitually truant children back in school. Our office will now take a firm stance in prosecuting parents who make no effort to comply with the law in New Mexico which states your child must attend school on a regular basis.”
For further information, please contact the Ninth Judicial District Attorney’s Office at 575-769-2246.