The father of a seventh grader at a California middle school said he received a truancy letter after his son missed portions of 3 Zoom sessions, CNN reported.
Mark Mastrov told CNN affiliate KGO-TV he received a letter from Stanley Middle School in Lafayette, California that said his son missed 30 minutes of 3 consecutive Zoom calls without submitting a valid reason.
“He can become a truant of the state and he could be arrested,” Mastrov told the CNN affiliate. “I said, ‘Are you going to come and try to arrest my son at my home, or fine me for not getting him to his Zoom class perfectly on time everyday?'”
“Obviously we’re in a pandemic and Gov. Newsom is trying to manage it,” Mastrov told KGO-TV, “but if the state of California is focusing on arresting 12-year-old children for missing 90 minutes of school in ten months, it’s ridiculous.”
A seventh-grader in California was threatened with arrest after missing three Zoom classes, his father says. Under California law, a letter from the school reads, the boy is considered a truant. https://t.co/Lkm2AhkXJL
— CNN (@CNN) October 22, 2020
The letter said Mastrov’s son is now classified as truant, which requires the district to warn parents of prosecution if they do not ensure that their student attends classes, the report added.
Betsy Balmat the middle school’s principal told KGO-TV it is the district’s obligation to notify parents due to a California law requiring school boards to draw up attendance plans for virtual learning.(RELATED: Teachers Reportedly Demand High School Student Remove Trump Flag From Wall At Home)
“The letter is part of our responsibility to the state for our student attendance review boards,” Balmat told KGO-TV. “As always, the schools have a responsibility to ensure students are engaged and learning.”
According to California penal code, parents with a child that misses more than 10% of the school year and does not submit a legitimate reason could face up to $2,000 in fines and potentially a year in jail, CNN reported.