UPDATE, JUNE 21, 4:02 P.M.: Last month, the Orange County district attorney's office announced the first OCDA case against parents of children who have been chronically truant, despite repeated warnings from
schools and police.
Yesterday, charges against one of those parents disappeared as quietly as a chronic lab-science ditcher.
Superior Court records indicate dismissal of a misdemeanor count of contributing to the delinquency of a minor that Claudia Diaz Perez pleaded not guilty
to last month, The Orange County Register reports. The 41-year-old Anaheim resident is the mother of an elementary-school student within the Magnolia School District, according to the OCDA.
A Register check of the other cases showed Natividad Arteaga, the 34-year-old mother of an Orange Unified School District middle-school student, pleaded guilty to the same charge, but her former husband, Porfirio Ascencio, 43, pleaded not guilty. Arteaga's sentence has not been recorded.
The remaining defendants, Ayman and Alice Haddadin, the respective 47- and 45-year-old parents of a Capistrano Unified middle schooler, have not entered pleas, the Register reports.
ORIGINAL POST, MAY 10, 1:04 P.M.: Five people were arrested this morning in what the Orange County district attorney's office (OCDA) hails as its first case against the parents of children who have been chronically truant despite repeated warnings from
cops and schools.
The parents–who face probation, jail and/or fines if convicted–have children in the Magnolia, Orange Unified and Capistrano Unified school districts.
Under state law, school-aged children must be enrolled in and attend school. Failure to comply can draw juvenile-court proceedings for children and criminal
prosecution for parents.
Today's arrests were made by officers from OCDA, the Orange Police
Department, the Orange County Sheriff's Department and the Orange County
Probation Department, which are part of the Gang Reduction Intervention Partnership (GRIP), which
identifies at-risk youth and aims to increase school attendance and
decrease gang activity.
All the parents were popped after their kids were dropped off at school and released
on their own recognizance in time to ensure the students get picked up
by this afternoon's final bell.
Here is how the OCDA described today's arrestees in a statement:
Defendants Ayman and Alice Haddadin
Alice Haddadin, 45, and her husband Ayman Haddadin, 47, have a middle-school student in the Capistrano Unified School District. By April
2011, the defendants' child had accumulated 12 unexcused absences during
the current school year. Beginning in December 2010, Ayman and Alice
Haddadin were sent four separate notices by the school and school
district requesting contact and setting up a meeting to discuss the
attendance problem. The defendants are accused of failing to respond or
attend the meeting. The defendants are accused of having additional
knowledge that their son had attendance problems because the minor was
subject to GRIP truancy sweeps in January 2010 and 2011 and the parents
were advised that they could be prosecuted for continuing to fail to
have their child attend school. Ayman and Alice Haddadin are accused of
allowing their child to have attendance problems dating back three
Defendants Porfirio Ascencio and Natividad Arteaga
Arteaga, 34, and her ex-husband Ascencio, 43, have a middle school
student in the Orange Unified School District. The defendants' are
accused of failing to enroll their child in the middle school for the
first three weeks of the school year. By May 2011, the defendants' child
had accumulated 10 unexcused absences and 28 late arrivals. The
defendants are accused of having knowledge that their child had
attendance problems by completing an attendance review board meeting,
where they were informed about State attendance laws. They are accused
of having a separate personal meeting with a police officer, who advised
the defendants that their child's continued attendance problems could
result in prosecution of the parents.
Defendant Claudia Diaz Perez
Perez, 41, has an elementary school student in the Magnolia School
District. By May 2011, the defendant's child had accumulated 30 absences
during the school year, eight of which were unexcused and the remaining
were “sick” days that were not justified with a doctor's note. Perez is
accused of having knowledge that her child had attendance problems
because she has met multiple times with a teacher from the school
regarding the issue and has had personal contact with a police officer
regarding her child's attendance. Perez is accused of allowing her son
to have attendance and tardiness problems going back to the 2nd grade.
The parents are scheduled to be arraigned in Santa Ana on June 7 on misdemeanor charges of contributing to the delinquency of
a minor. If convicted, they could get probation, up to a year in
jail each and $2,500 in fines.
Matt Coker has been engaging, enraging and entertaining readers of newspapers, magazines and websites for decades. He spent the first 13 years of his career in journalism at daily newspapers before “graduating” to OC Weekly in 1995 as the paper’s first calendar editor. He went on to be managing editor, executive editor and is now senior staff writer.