Clovis, NM - Ninth Judicial District Attorney Matthew Chandler announced today that Edwina Armijo, age 31, pled guilty and was sentenced today for knowingly and allowing her 12 year old child to become habitually truant from school.
Edwina Armijo was convicted of one count of Failure to Enforce Compulsory School Attendance (a misdemeanor) and as a result she was ordered to ensure her child is in school the remainder of the school year, attend parenting program that counsels individuals on parenting skills, and pay $67 in court fines and fees. During the fall semester of 2007, it was proven that Ms. Armijo knowingly caused and/or allowed her 12 year old child to amass more than 25 unexcused absences from James Bickley Elementary
A student with more than 10 unexcused absences in a school year is considered a “habitual truant.” After reviewing the cases, the Juvenile Probation Office made the determination that the child’s truancy was in fact caused by the parents and the cases were referred to the District Attorney’s office for prosecution. A first time conviction for this criminal offense is not punishable by jail time; however, any second or subsequent offense for Failure to Enforce Compulsory School Attendance is punishable by six months in jail and/or a $500 fine. This conviction for Failure to Enforce Compulsory School Attendance is Ms. Armijo’s first conviction.
District Attorney Chandler stated, “It is our objective to strictly enforce New Mexico’s truancy laws. It’s a fact, a child’s potential to become a productive and successful citizen is dramatically decreased if the child does not maintain an education. We are trying our best to help kids succeed, but it starts with parental accountability.”
Compulsory attendance laws in New Mexico define a student as a habitual truant when the student has ten (10) or more unexcused absences within a school year. After the tenth unexcused absence the parent is notified that any future unexcused absences within the year will be reported to the Juvenile Probation Department. If Juvenile Probation Department determines that the parent(s) or guardian(s) are the cause of the absences, the cases are referred to the District Attorney’s Office for intervention and/or prosecution.