A California seventh-grade student was threatened with arrest by school officials for missing less than two hours of his virtual online classes.
Mark Mastrov said he was stunned when he received a letter from Stanley Middle School in Lafayette warning that his 12-year-old son, Merek, could face arrest for missing three Zoom lessons, news station KGO-TV reported.
“He can become a truant of the state and he could be arrested,” Mastrov told the outlet. “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 listed the half-hour class periods that Merek wasn’t present for over the last month and said, “When a student is absent without a valid excuse, the student is considered truant according to California law.”
Principal Betsy Balm said the school was following new state guidelines enacted this fall to keep a closer watch on student attendance during virtual learning.
“The letter is part of our responsibility to the state for our student attendance review boards,” Balmat said. “As always, the schools have a responsibility to ensure students are engaged and learning.”
Mastrov said he’s now calling on his representatives to urge them to change the law.
“Obviously we’re in a pandemic and Gov.[Gavin] Newsom is trying to manage it, 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,” Mastrov said.