12-Year Old Boy Threatened with Arrest After Missing 90 Minutes of Zoom Class
A father in the California says a letter he got in the mail from his son's middle school threatens to arrest the boy for missing under two hours of a Zoom class.
The school's principal told ABC7 News that the administration had no choice but to send the letter, because of the new state guidelines forcing schools to keep better track of attendance while students do virtual schooling.
"This is our fourth child going through this middle school and out of the blue, we got a letter," said Mark Mastrov.
Mastrov said the letter showed up after his seventh-grade son missed three 30-minute Zoom sessions one day last month.
He explained, "He can become a truant of the state and he could be arrested." When Mastrov called the school, he asked a simple question; "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 everyday?'"
Mark's son Merek, like many students across the nation, spends about seven hours a day on Zoom classes for school.
The letter from the school's administration listed three periods Merek wasn't present, and said "When a student is absent without a valid excuse, the student is considered truant according to California law."
Stanley Middle School's letter also listed six consequences that were a possibility, with one saying "The pupil may be subject to arrest under Education Code Section 48264."
Betsy Balmat feels the letter was a necessary procedure, saying "The letter is part of our responsibility to the state for our student attendance review boards. As always, the schools have a responsibility to ensure students are engaged and learning."
Mastrov is now writing to lawmakers, pushing for a change in state law.
"Obviously we're in a pandemic and Gov. Newsom is trying to manage it," said Mastrov, "but if the state of California is focusing on arresting 12-year-old children for missing 90 minutes of school in ten months, it's ridiculous."
Read more at ABC 7 News