Offcials combating truancy

Mike Linn

Portales school officials are teaming up with the local district attorney to help thwart truancy in area public schools.
Ninth Judicial District Attorney Brett Carter said he plans to actively prosecute offenders.
The law, however, will not apply to parents whose children cut classes after their parents have arranged for them a ride to school.
“We’re not going to go after the parents of students who get dropped of at the front door (of school) and walk out the back,” Carter said.
Carter said after five unexcused absences school officials will meet with the student’s family; if unexcused absences continue Carter said his office will get involved.
In June, the mother of a Clovis third-grader who had more than 30 unexcused absences — was found guilty of truancy, fined $100 and given six months of unsupervised probation.
Her probation includes the condition that her child have no more unexcused absences during the next 182 days. Clovis school officials said their last truancy case was prosecuted about three years ago.
Similar cases also occurred in Portales last school year, and Carter noted that a few parents have been charged with truancy.
Murphy Quick, Portales School District’s financial director and former principal of Portales High School, said area officials have been proactive in dealing with truant parents.
“Any truancy is bad — one truancy is bad,” Quick said. “I don’t know if we’ve had an overabundance of truancies (in the past).”
Portales Police Capt. Lonnie Berry said there are two warrants on parents of Portales students. The warrants, however, have not been served because the parents of those children have moved, Berry said.
“From the standpoint we look at, it’s the obligation of the parent to get the kids up and get them to school,” Berry said in June. “If it’s inconvenient, well, that’s really kind of too bad. They have an obligation for this child to at least stay up (on their work).”