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Socorro parent back in court for allowing truancy

An arraignment was held in district court last week for a Socorro parent who has been charged with violating state law by allowing her teenager to miss more than 10 days of classes last semester.

The parent, Bridgette Marble, could face jail time for Failure to Enforce Compulsory School Attendance. State law dictates that a parent could be fined as much as $500 or face up to six months in jail for failing to make sure their kids are in school.

“That’s the way the law reads,” District Attorney Clint Wellborn said. “But the child actually missed a total of 34 days between January and May this year.”

This is the second time Marble has been taken to court under the compulsory school attendance law. She was serving 35 days in the Socorro County Detention Center for violating the previous order to send her child to school.

According to her most recent criminal complaint, dated July 16, Marble knowingly allowed her child to continue to violate the Compulsory School Attendance Law.

It further states: “Due to the amount of unexcused absences, Bridgette was sent a Notice of Habitual Truancy. The purpose of Notice is to advise the parent that their child is not in compliance with the Attendance Contract that the parent signed.” The complaint states that Marble was served notice on May 3, 2019, and immediately after, her child missed the following three days of school with unexcused absences.

“Under the Compulsory School Attendance Law, if there are 10 unexcused absences, the case is referred to the Juvenile Probation Office,” Wellborn said.

He said Juvenile Probation Officers try to work with parents to fix the problem, but if they can’t, cases are referred to his office for prosecution.

Head Juvenile Probation Officer Rita Cragun said all efforts are made to correct a situation before it gets to a criminal complaint level.

Wellborn agreed this particular case “is extreme,” he said. “The parent faces up to a $500 fine or six months in jail.”