BARSTOW • Two Barstow parents will face criminal charges for not sending their children to school after they went almost a year without being enrolled anywhere, officials said Tuesday.
Misty Tompkins, 36, and a second suspect identified only as "Brian," 37, were charged with three counts of contributing to the delinquency of a minor and two counts of failure to address truancy, according to the San Bernardino County District Attorney's office.
If convicted, they could be punished by up to one year in county jail and or a $2,000 fine for each child who is not in compliance.
The charges are part of an increasing crackdown on truancy, officials said.
"The only thing I hope to achieve from this action is to give all three of these boys a chance, and the only way to do that is to ensure that they attend school," said Deputy District Attorney Brieann Durose in a prepared statement. "School has not been a priority to this family at all, and the children are the ones who suffer for it."
Tomkins' three students were enrolled in the Silver Valley Unified School District in October 2011. Prior to that, they were not enrolled anywhere since November 2010. After more than 10 unexcused absences the parents enrolled the children with the Barstow Unified School District in January 2012.
Chief Deputy District Attorney Karen Bell, who oversees the Let's End Truancy Project, said in a prepared statement the district attorney files criminal charges for truancy only as a last resort.
"We do not want parents to suffer a criminal penalty, but if they ignore their legal obligations we will take the next step to ensure the children in that family get to school," Bell said.
In the last year, the county has only filed about five of these cases, said Christopher Lee, public affairs officer for the DA's office.
The LET Project, which is funded through Assembly Bill 1913, allocates state resources annually to fund programs that address juvenile crime prevention and focus on public safety.