6 OC Parents Arrested for Allegedly Ignoring Warnings of Children's Chronic Truancies

What truant?
Earlier today, I posted on Frank Cabada of Santa Ana's Hector Godinez Fundamental High School being among six Latino high school seniors from around the country honored this morning by the Hispanic Heritage Foundation in Beverly Hills.

It's unlikely Cabada, a math and engineering whiz, would have attained such distinction had he been the child of Toya Daniels, Gustavo Martinez, Maria de la Luz Martinez, Cheree Peoples, Toni Marie Aranda or Virginia Ferrer Avila.

Those Orange County parents have been arrested on suspicion of allowing their children to be chronically truant to school despite repeated warnings from police and school officials.

"California law requires school-aged children to be enrolled in and attend school and failure to comply with the law can result in juvenile court proceedings for the child or criminal prosecution of the parent(s)," reads a statement from the Orange County District Attorney's office (OCDA).

"The defendants in this case are each charged with one misdemeanor count of contributing to the delinquency of a minor and one misdemeanor count of failure to reasonably supervise or encourage school attendance. If convicted, each defendant faces a sentence ranging from probation up to one year in jail and $2,500 in fines."

Arraignment dates are to be determined, according to prosecutors.

The arrests came after a sweep by the Orange County Gang Reduction Intervention Partnership (OC GRIP), a law enforcement partnership that identifies at-risk youth and aims to increase school attendance and decrease gang activity. Teams came from OCDA, the Buena Park Police Department, the Orange County Probation Department, the Orange Police Department, the Santa Ana Police Department and Santa Ana Unified School District Police Department.

All arrests were made in the morning after the parents' children had been taken to school, the OCDA notes, adding that each defendant was booked into the Orange County Jail and released on their own recognizance prior to the end of the school day "to ensure that no child would be left without proper childcare."

The same agency boasted the first-ever prosecution against parents of truants in 2011, although the charges did not stick against all defendants:

OC Law Enforcement Targets Parents of Truants
OCDA Boasts First-Ever Case Against Parents of Truants

The full statement on the next page lays out the cases against each parent in the latest prosecution . . .

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Dear Editor,

After reading your account of the Cheree Peoples truancy charges, I did a bit of research. I do not know Miss Peoples personally. We have never met.

What's very interesing is that the press is attempting to tell her story without telling the ENTIRE strory.

It is my understanding that her child, has a chronic life threatening blood disorder. Sickle Cell to be exact.

As September is National Sickle Cell Awareness Month, if TRUTH is what the media is pursuing (and not sensationalism), it should be of interest to your paper to reach out to Miss Peoples to hear her side of the story and maybe to share some light on the devasting effects of this blood disorder and to EDUCATE the ignorant about it. AND for the community to get a better understanding of the discrimination that parents of children living with Sickle Cell receive.

It's very interesting that everyone shows compassion for children who develop childhood cancer. Whole towns will lay down the red carpet and support these families thru acts of genuine compassion for another human. How many times have you personally heard of fundraisers being held for a cancer family in need? The compassion for those who battle cancer is amazing and leaves hope for humanity.

When was the last time anyone showed the same compassion for those living with SCD? Sickle Cell is DEVASTATING. One minute you're fine, trying to live life as normal as possible, the next, you're on life support. There is no rhyme nor reason to how or when this chronic blood disorder will show itself.

It's no secret that children living with SCD are frequently ill, hospitalized and absent from school. Despite this knowledge and having doctor's notes, SCD families are often portrayed and harassed as delinquent and truant. After reading the 'case' against Miss Peoples it's very clear that the school district AND the D.A. have refused to show compassion to Miss Peoples and her family.

Sending a sick child to school is a much needed break for most caregivers. Caring for a child with SCD is a 24 hour 365 day commitment. A parent caregiver MUST be available and willing to bee line it to the emergency room on the drop of a dime.

To pursue a parent for something they have zero control over is pure harassment and showboating. Not a single one of the 'solutions' (except maybe the BigBrothers/BigSisters offer) is useful to this family. This is sad that this is what the world has become. Adults who should know better are quick to judge and slow to show compassion and offer help and reasonable solutions.

Again, as it is National Sickle Cell Awareness Month, I pray that Miss Peoples a is given the opportunity to state her side of the story and shed light on this rare blood disorder. Thank you for your time.

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