Eight Merced County parents have been arrested this month for failing to send their children to school, according to the Merced County District Attorney’s office.
The arrests come about two months after a similar sweep picked up 10 parents for the same alleged crimes. The sweep last week was done in conjunction with the Merced County Office of Education.
The eight parents arrested this month were charged Monday with contributing to the delinquency of a minor, according to a news release from the Merced County District Attorney’s office.
Esmeralda Saldana, 40, and Cesar Saldana, 46, both of Merced; Ann Ornelas, 34, and Michael Perez, 33, both of Winton were arraigned before Merced County Superior Court Judge Carol Ash, the release said.
Billie Breniak, 43, and Lonita Robertson, 47, of Merced, were arraigned in front of visiting Judge Donald Shaver, the release said.
Ruby Santos, 32, and Jose Rubio, 30, both of Los Banos were arraigned by Judge David Moranda in the Merced County Superior Court in Los Banos, the release said.
Merced County District Attorney Larry Morse II said officials will continue "to conduct these sweeps against parents who are impeding their children’s futures by failing to send them to school."
“Kids who miss substantial periods of school are more likely to become high school dropouts, and high school dropouts are eight times more likely to be incarcerated," he said in a news release. "These kids deserve better.”
The arrest warrants are sought after "every other effort to get these kids to school has been exhausted,” according to Steve Tietjen, superintendent of the Merced County Office of Education.
School officials have said the lengthy process to get the children back in school started with numerous phone calls, letters and home visits. When that didn’t work, parents then were invited to meetings with the School Attendance Review Team. The next step involved sending cases to a hearing before the Student Attendance Review Board, commonly known as SARB.
“I am hopeful that our efforts to communicate to parents the tremendous importance of regular student attendance at school are making a difference," he said in a news release. "We want parents to know their important role in their children’s success."
Police in Merced, Atwater and Los Banos participated in the effort, according to a news release, as well as Merced County Sheriff’s deputies.
Ten Merced parents were charged in September as part of a countywide truancy sweep, the Merced County District Attorney’s Office reported.