The Caddo Parish District Attorney’s office, the Caddo Parish Sheriff’s office, and the Shreveport Police Department joined forces late last week to forcefully remind parents and guardians of minor children of their responsibilities under the law.
Deputies and officers, armed with bench warrants issued by local judges and the DA’s office, swept through the city Wednesday through Friday, June 13-15, 2018. They arrested adults who failed to show up for Truancy Court after being properly served to be in court or who appeared in court and failed to return on the next scheduled court date.
“As promised and forewarned, I am demanding that parents get their children in school in regular attendance and cooperate in addressing reasons for their child’s non-attendance,” Caddo Parish District Attorney James E. Stewart Sr. said. “While we strive to work with parents and provide services when we can, our community can no longer tolerate parents who refuse to cooperate in their children’s education. These parents have been brought to our attention for having not cooperated in multiple efforts to get their children into school. And as promised and forewarned, they will be prosecuted.”
These are mostly cases that began in the fall of 2017 and ran through the end of the school year that ended in May 2018.
Shreveport Police assigned nine officers in two teams and executed six warrants on individuals whose neglect affected at least 10 children. Arrested by SPD officers were Shreveporters Shantarra George, 8200 Pines Road; Nancy Anderson, 2902 Bolch St.; Casey Wogan, 3064 Burson Drive; Jo Ann Alex, 4937 Haywood Place; Donielle Goree, 4630 Bethune Drive; and Ericka Dewitt Dillard, 457 Kemper St.
Caddo Parish sheriff’s deputies arrested three adults and cleared one who reported to court before the warrant could be executed. These cases impacted the lives of at least five children. Arrested by deputies were Lekesha Gates, 4585 North Market St., Shreveport; Herman A. Taylor, 630 West 75th St., Shreveport; and Barbara Hope, 6516 Caspiana Lane, Keithville. In all, the Caddo Sheriff’s office used two detectives, two school resource officers, and a supervisor.
Still sought on outstanding warrants are Fatimah Slack, Michael Anderson, Keisha Jackson, Rosaline Osborne, Sacondria Johnson, Deanna Burks, Twanda McCoy, Brittany Thomas and Satterica Scott.
In all, at least 26 children have been affected by the inaction of their parents or guardians, and the children range in age from 17 to as young as 6.
The Caddo Parish District Attorney’s office plans to file, as necessary, Bills of Information on some of these parents for Improper Supervision. Five of the children missed school 100 or more days during the 2017-2018 school year and the total unexcused days for children of the parents sought in the warrants sweep was 1,568.
The sweep follows a policy established by Caddo Parish District Attorney James E. Stewart Sr. in March 2017 when he announced efforts to work with law enforcement officials and the Caddo Parish School System with regard to curfew violations, truancy, and other legal-educational issues.
Shreveport city ordinance restricts outdoor activities for all juveniles under the age of 17 between 10 p.m. and 5 a.m. daily, except on Fridays and Saturdays, where the curfew begins at midnight. With certain limited exceptions, those 17 and under must be home by 10 p.m. on weekdays and by midnight on weekends. Other municipalities within the parish have similar curfew regulations.
The parents of juveniles who committed an offense during those curfew hours, upon conviction for improper supervision of a minor, face a sentence of up to one month in jail, a $250 fine, and 40 hours of community service.
Louisiana Revised Statutes also require school attendance and impose penalties for failure to comply. In addition, under Louisiana law, drivers under age 17 cannot drive between 11 p.m. and 5 a.m. unless they are accompanied by a licensed parent or guardian, a licensed adult over age 21, or a licensed sibling aged 18 or older.