'Cause It's California: Middle Schooler Threatened With Arrest Because He Missed Virtual Class

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What kind of government should never be granted tremendous power? Any government that wants it.

In the state of California, the Powers That Be don’t shy away from throwing around their weight, and the pandemic has seen more tossing than a Beverly Hills salad bar.


One such case, if you please: that of Lafayette’s Merek Mastrov.

As it turns out, the guy’s in danger of being arrested. And it’d be a shame for him to be taken to the tank, as he’s only 12.

Nevertheless, under a new law passed in the fall, Merek’s offense could absolutely color him cuffed.

As reported by iHeart.com, the preteen missed three half-hour virtual classes last month.

Hence, school officials sent his parents a letter. The message: He could face arrest.

Here’s iHeart:

Under a new law…schools must make a concerted effort to crack down on truancy, even as many students are engaged in remote learning. Officials at Stanley Middle School in Lafayette, California, said that Merek’s absences were unexcused, and under the new guidelines, he is considered truant.

Therefore, the missive makes clear, “The pupil may be subject to arrest.”

Seems a bit harsh, but I’m no educator.

Neither — presumably — is Merek’s father, Mark.

Yet, it appears he’s willing to school Stanley Middle on what is and isn’t absurd.


Speaking to San Francisco’s ABC7, he recalled his response:

“[Merek] can become a truant of the state, and he could be arrested. 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?'”

As for school Principal Betsy Balmat, she defended the menacing mail:

“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.”

Mark disagrees with the…principle:

“Obviously, we’re in a pandemic, and Gov. (Gavin) Newsom is trying to manage it, but if the state of California is really going to spend a lot of time focusing on arresting 12-year-old children for missing 90 minutes of school in 10 months, it’s ridiculous.”

Betsy did admit perhaps the school should’ve just called Merek’s parents.

Yeah; perhaps.

California’s not known for its measured laws. Or, some may say, its reasonable ones.

As I covered in April, in deference to COVID-19, one county put the kibosh on contagious swimming — by instituting a one-person-per-pool policy.

At the time, I wrote thusly:

So gentlemen, better work on those pecs and abs. And ladies, bikini bodies will be more exposed than ever — in between taking your turn at dips, you’ll just be standing there in the open, wet, waiting for your significant other to enjoy their lone submersion.

Oh, and in case you’re wondering: The policy applies, regardless of the size of the pool.

I’m assuming the thinking is that your germs get out with you?

Also, no parties at pools will be permitted.

But parents get a pass; well, parent: “A parent or guardian” can remain with a minor to ensure his/her/zis/hirs/eirs/vers/ters/eirs safety.


The state’s all about safety — earlier this month, Caltrans took down a Trump sign on private property above the 405 interstate because it was, officially, a distraction for drivers.

Maybe threatening to jail a middle schooler comes from that same place of concern: After all, if the tyke isn’t in (virtual) class, he could be somewhere treacherous…like…the kitchen.

Regulations to the rescue.

You’re killin’ it, California.



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