Lorraine Cuevas

Lorraine Cuevas

HANFORD —Two children who were kept from attending elementary school for 116 days by their mother during the previous school year are now in the care of relatives and attending classes again.

Lorraine Cuevas, 34, was sentenced this week to 180 days in jail, after being charged in June for violating the state’s child truancy law. According to the law, created in 2011, any parent or guardian can be fined or imprisoned if they fail to provide an adequate excuse for a student’s absence for 10 percent or more of the school year. The name of the school the children are attending has not been released by school officials.

Kings County Office of Education Superintendent of Schools Tim Bowers said he’s seen a handful of serious truancy cases, but they rarely go as far as sentencing and conviction.

Bowers also said the state changed the truancy law because it’s becoming a major issue statewide.

“It’s a significant enough issue in the state that the Legislature wanted to take it to a level in which parents would understand how serious it is if their children don’t go to school,” he said.

Bowers said the Hanford Elementary School District is constantly monitoring attendance and working with parents to help prevent similar incidents.

“It’s unfortunate that this had to go so far, but it’s an appropriate response to a serious situation,” he said.

Bowers said the district could not provide the names of the children or the names of the relatives who are taking care of them.

The reporter can be reached at 583-2429 or jluiz@HanfordSentinel.com.

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