LAS CRUCES, N.M. — District Attorney Mark D'Antonio was motivated by the ranking as the worst state for child well-being and the truancy rate to take a proactive approach in improving the quality of life for kids in the county.
D'Antonio along with superintendents from Las Cruces Public Schools and Gadsden ISD emphasized the importance of making sure children are in class during the district attorney's monthly town hall meeting.
"Everybody recognizes that if kids don't go to school they go down the wrong path," D'Antonio said.
That's why the heads of both districts said they are actively seeking out parents asking why their children are not in school.
Without enthusiastic parents that encourage their kids to go to school and really participate in their child's school activities we're dead in the water," D'Antonio said.
With the low rankings, D'Antonio said it will take a combined effort from parents, educators and the public as whole.
D'Antonio praised Las Cruces Moms, a year-old organization with more than 3000 members, for their efforts in improving a child's educational opportunities.
"We all need to as a community lift that (ranking) up and it does take a village to raise a child," said Las Cruces Moms President & Founder Brooke Roberson.
This year the organization was able to gather donations from businesses and individual members to help fill 320 backpacks with school supplies for area children.
"Every child that was nominated in the City of Las Cruces will get a backpack with school supplies," Roberson said.
Roberson said the backpacks will allow a student to be successful when they step into the classroom.
D'Antonio said that success can translate to more kids staying in school, which means less kids committing crimes.