Barstow parents charged after kids repeatedly miss school

News headline from the San Bernardino County District Attorney’s Office:

As part of an increasing crackdown on truancy, the San Bernardino County District Attorney charged two Barstow parents, Brian and Misty Tompkins, for failing to send their children to school.

Brian, 37, and Misty, 36, were charged with three counts of contributing to the delinquency of a minor and two counts of failure to address truancy.

“The only thing I hope to achieve from this action is to give all three of these boys a chance, and the only way to do that is to ensure that they attend school,” said Deputy District Attorney Brieann Durose, who is assigned to the case. “School has not been a priority to this family at all, and the children are the ones who suffer for it.”

The defendants charged are parents of three students who had been enrolled in the Silver Valley Unified School District in October 2011. Prior to October, they had not been enrolled anywhere since November 2010.  After more than 10 unexcused absences, the parents removed them from Silver Valley District and enrolled them in the Barstow Unified School District in January 2012.

“We need to be very clear that the district attorney files criminal charges on parents who do not send their children to school, only as a last resort,” said Chief Deputy District Attorney Karen Bell, who oversees the Let’s End Truancy Project (LET).  “We do not want parents to suffer a criminal penalty, but if they ignore their legal obligations we will take the next step to ensure the children in that family get to school.”

The LET Project, which is funded through Assembly Bill 1913, allocates state resources annually to fund programs that address juvenile crime prevention and focus on public safety.

The consequences for parents who are arrested for their child’s truancy include up to one year in county jail and/or a $2,000 fine for each child who is not in compliance.

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Tuesday, May 1, 2012

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