Middle school student threatened with arrest after missing three distance learning sessions

Middle school student threatened with arrest after missing three distance learning sessions

LAFAYETTE, Calif. — A California father says his son’s school has crossed a line when it comes to distance learning.

Mark Mastrov said his family recently received a letter from his son’s middle school after his seventh-grade son missed three, 30-minute online classes one day in September, KGO reported.

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Mastrov told the television station that his son Merek Mastrov has seven hour-long days attending virtual classes on Zoom.

He admitted that Merek missed the sessions.

The letter said, according to KGO, “When a student is absent without a valid excuse, the student is considered truant according to California law.”

There are six potential punishments for truancy, including being arrested.

Stanley Middle School Principal Betsy Balmat said, “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," KGO reported.

Schools in California use their daily attendance numbers for qualifying for state and federal funding. The state has a law on the books that requires schools to have an attendance accountability plan and follow it.

Balmat said the family should have been called before getting the letter.

Mastrov said he never had a call and that other parents in the community have also received the letters.

He’s now taking the complaint to the state government saying the law should be changed.

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