LAS CRUCES – District Attorney Mark D’Antonio announced earlier this month that parents or legal guardians from 10 Doña Ana County families face charges for failing to see that their children attend school.
Under New Mexico law, the parent or guardian of a school-aged child is responsible for ensuring that their child goes to school. For homeschooling, parents or guardians must establish a home school via the New Mexico Public Education Department.
The District Attorney’s Office stated that prosecution is pursued after parents fail to address truancy issues with school officials, and that the office works with the Las Cruces Public Schools and Gadsden Independent School District to ensure compliance with the law.
Parents facing charges will appear before Third District Judge Marci Beyer. Although truancy is a petty misdemeanor, after repeated offenses parents can face probation, mounting fines, and even jail time.
“As a parent, I understand the challenges parents face,” D’Antonio said in a statement. “However, it is imperative that we keep our kids in the classroom and out of the courtroom. It is a known fact that students who don’t finish school end up in prison or in adult poverty later in life.”