A 28-year-old woman and her mother have been arrested in Louisiana after the daughter allegedly posed as a 17-year-old to enroll in a high school, authorities said.
The woman, Martha Gutierrez-Serrano, and her mother, Marta Serrano-Alvarado, 46, were charged with injuring public records, a felony offense that could result in up to five years in prison and fines, according to the St. Charles Parish Sheriff’s Office.
The sheriff’s office said it received a tip from the St. Charles Parish Public Schools district that a female student at Hahnville High School in Boutte, about 30 miles west of New Orleans, was actually an adult in her mid-20s.
Detectives obtained a search warrant for the home that Gutierrez-Serrano shared with her mother and found a fake passport and birth certificate that were used to enroll her in the school for the 2022-23 school year, the sheriff’s office said.
“We have no idea how long she was enrolled at Hahnville High School,” Sheriff Greg Champagne said in a statement. “We don’t know if she was enrolled at other schools prior to that.”
The sheriff’s office did not disclose the motive for the scheme, but District Attorney Joel Chaisson said Gutierrez-Serrano wanted to improve her English by attending high school.
“She was just trying to learn English,” Gutierrez-Serrano’s boyfriend, who did not want to be identified, told WVUE-TV. “She didn’t want to hurt anyone.”
Some students who knew Gutierrez-Serrano said they were shocked by the revelation of her true identity.
“She was very quiet,” a student who gave his name as Gavin told The New York Post. “She acted like a 17-year-old kid. She did her homework. She got good grades.”
Another student, who gave his name as Jaylon, told the newspaper: “I’m still trying to wrap my head around this. I don’t know what her intentions were.”
Chaisson said the case was “a very serious offense” and that his office would prosecute it vigorously.
“It’s a felony offense,” he said. “It’s something that carries some jail time with it potentially and some pretty hefty fines.”
Mother and daughter arrested after 28-year-old enrolled at high school posing as a teenager, Yahoo News, June 14, 2023
Woman, 28, accused of posing as a 17-year-old student at Louisiana high school, NBC News, June 15, 2023
The arrested adult who posed as 17-year-old Hahnville High student wanted to improve her English, NOLA.com, June 14, 2023
A 28-year-old woman allegedly enrolls at high school as 17-year-old to learn English: Sheriff, MSN News, June 14, 2023