California 7th grader threatened with arrest for missing Zoom classes

Monday, October 26, 2020
7th grader threatened with arrest after missing zoom classes
California 7th grade student threatened with arrest after missing 90 minutes of zoom classes.

LAFAYETTE, California -- A seventh-grader in California was threatened with arrest after missing three Zoom classes, his father says.

Mark Mastrov says he recently received a letter from Stanley Middle School in Lafayette, California, saying that his son had been absent for more than 30 minutes on three occasions without a valid excuse.

And under California law, the letter reads, that means his son is considered a truant.

"He can become a truant of the state and he could be arrested," said Mastrov. "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 every day?'"

The letter states that because the boy is now classified as a truant, the school district is required to inform his parents that they could be prosecuted if they don't compel their son to attend school -- and that their son could potentially be subject to arrest.

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Stanley Middle School Principal Betsy Balmat said that the district was obligated to send the notice due to a new California law that requires school governing boards to adopt a plan for attendance amid virtual learning.

"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."

CNN has reached out to Balmat for comment.

California is notorious for strict truancy laws that some parents see as extreme or unforgiving.

Under its penal code, a parent whose child misses more than 10% of a school year without a valid excuse could be subject to a fine of up to $2,000 and/or up to a year in jail.