Elizabeth Marrero was arrested last week in Clermont, FL on charges of contributing to the delinquency of a minor. The mother reportedly did not send her middle-school aged daughter to school for two full years. She turned herself in to the Clermont Sherriff’s Office after the State Attorney’s office issued a warrant for her arrest. She is currently out on bail bond, awaiting her impending trial. It is not yet known whether she has retained a private criminal defense attorney.
Contributing to the delinquency of a minor is a second-degree misdemeanor and may land Marrero in jail for a while. The State Attorney’s Office issued the warrant for her arrest after the school district approached them in desperation. School officials report that they tried to work with Marrero to get her daughter back in school, setting up meetings and calling, but she was unresponsive.
Marrero’s daughter, whose name has not been released because of her age, was supposed to attend Windy Mill Middle School in Clermont for the past three years. However, officials report that the girl has been missing for the past two years. They told the press that the girl had only been to school 5 days out of the 180-day school year. The girl is reportedly now old enough to be attending high school but has not yet completed 7th or 8th grade.
Marrero’s home situation is not publicly known, although she reportedly has a toddler as well as the teenage girl. It is not clear whether she has other children or a partner, what she does for a living, and why she did not send her daughter to school for two years. She has yet to speak to the press regarding the matter. It is also currently not known whether Marrero has a previous criminal record.
Marrero’s neighbors, however, did speak out on the issue, expressing their surprise.
“It’s shocking… why wouldn’t a parent send their kid to school?” commented Francis Pimento, who lives near Marrero. Abe Desouze had a similar opinion: “I mean two years? A couple of months, okay. Two years? That’s too much. She needs to be arrested and prosecuted,” he told the press.
Surprisingly, Marrero is not the only Florida parent who has been accused of keeping children home from school for extended periods of time. Sonia Lopez of Orange County, FL was arrested for and convicted of two counts of contributing to the delinquency of a minor. She ended up serving 108 days in prison for the offense, although she told the press that the absences were not her fault and that she could not control her sons, who she said were involved in gangs. One of her sons was only in fifth grade at the time.
Before her arrest, the Orange County school district got her to sign two separate contracts where she promised that she would send her sons to school. She failed to follow up on the agreements, however, and ended up facing prosecution along with six other Orange County parents in 2010.