Criminal Defense in Orange County

OC Parents Arrested for Allowing Kids to Ditch

Most people can remember at least one time in their lives that they ditched school. For some, it was much more than one time, but did you know that you can actually be arrested for ditching? Being absent from school without a legitimate or "excused" reason is called truancy. In the case of six Orange County parents, they were arrested this past Thursday for allowing their children to be habitually truant.

These parents had been warned before, stated the authorities. After repeat warnings and even offers for counseling and parenting classes, the parents continued to ignore the situation and allow their children to be absent from school repeatedly. Parents are required to make sure that their children are going to school. There is only so much that parents can control, but these parents allegedly did not do enough to ensure their children's attendance.

In this case, the 48-year-old father and 37-year-old mother of a son and daughter were arrested because their fifth grade son had 12 unexcused absences from January to mid-April of this year. The couple's 15-year-old daughter hadn't even enrolled in school for this school year. One of the main reasons that Orange County officials are so concerned about these children being in school is to prevent more children from becoming involved in gangs. Statistically, children who are chronically truant are more likely to become involved in gangs, especially in Southern California.

These arrests were different than most other criminal arrests in Orange County. Instead of being confronted solely by law enforcement, the parents were arrested by a team of police, prosecutors and probation officers that make up the Orange County Gang Reduction Intervention Partnership (GRIP). This task-force seeks out children that have missed over 10 percent of their school year and investigates their cases, sometimes making arrests such as in this case.

So what are the charges for truancy? The parents who were arrested are each being charged with contributing to the delinquency of a minor, which is a misdemeanor offense. The parents also face another misdemeanor charge of failure to reasonably supervise or encourage school attendance. The parents not only face fines, but possible jail time. The primary reason for these arrests was to serve as a "wakeup call" according to the authorities. These arrests are primarily for the purpose of reform, rather than to convict and lock up.

Truancy is a serious problem in more heavily gang-influenced areas of Orange County such as Anaheim and Garden Grove. Be aware that local authorities are actively investigating children who have missed more than ten percent of their school years. To learn more about truancy, misdemeanors and these types of arrests, contact an Orange County criminal defense attorney from The Law Office of Barney B. Gibbs today.