'High Schooler,' 17, Actually a 28-Year-Old Woman: Cops

Woman allegedly wanted to learn English, had recently arrived in US
By Evann Gastaldo,  Newser Staff
Posted Jun 15, 2023 2:00 AM CDT
Updated Jun 18, 2023 4:05 PM CDT
Woman, 28, Pretended to Be 17 to Attend High School: Cops
Stock photo.   (Getty Images / GlobalStock)

A 28-year-old woman and her mother were arrested Tuesday morning in Louisiana and accused of an odd scheme. Police say Marta Elizeth Serrano-Alvarado, 46, enrolled her adult daughter Martha Jessenia Gutierrez-Serrano in Boutte's Hahnville High School for the 2022-23 school year, passing her off as a 17-year-old by using a fraudulent passport and birth certificate, NBC News reports. The St. Charles Parish sheriff says the younger woman enrolled so she could learn English, ABC News reports. At the end of May, the school district informed police after getting a tip that the student may not be a teen but rather "in fact an adult possibly in her mid 20s," according to a press release.

Gutierrez-Serrano had just arrived in the US in 2021, the sheriff said; her mother had come earlier and had an expired visa. The daughter "was in school, she minded her own business, she did her schoolwork, she caused no trouble," the sheriff said. She "wanted to become proficient in English and perhaps further her education, which I think we can all be sympathetic with. Unfortunately, whether it was her decision or her mother's decision, it's certainly bad judgment to submit a falsified document to the government." Mother and daughter both face one count of injuring public records. (It's not the first time a 20-something has snuck into high school.)

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