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OC parents arrested for kids repeatedly missing school

May 10, 2011 12:00:00 AM PDT
In what was the first bust of its kind in Orange County, at least five parents were arrested Tuesday for repeatedly allowing their children to miss school.

Authorities arrested Alice Haddadin and her husband, Ayman, on criminal charges stemming from allowing their children to skip school repeatedly in the Capistrano Unified School District.

"They have several kids. All of them had very chronic truancy problems," said Tracy Rinauro, the county senior deputy district attorney. "I know the sheriffs department has been out to their home on several occasions to talk about why they can't get their kids to school."

Natividad Arteaga and her ex-husband Porfirio Ascencio were also charged after allegedly failing to enroll their child in middle school in the Orange Unified School District in the first three weeks of school. Officials said the child also showed up late nearly 30 times this year.

Investigators allege Claudia Perez allowed her child to miss 30 days of school, some of them unexcused absences and sick days without a doctor's note.

The arrest of parents in connection with their child's truancy is a first for Orange County as part of a crackdown to try to keep kids off the streets, out of gangs and in school.

Not everyone agrees with the way officials are handling it.

"They should be a little stricter on their children because it is part of their fault, but they shouldn't have to be arrested," said student Aimee Valentin of Anaheim. "That's a little too extreme. It's our choice to go to school or not, if we want a better future."

"The law requires parents to control their children and provide reasonable care," Rinauro said. "There's nothing more basic, food and clothing and an education."


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