Los Angeles

LA Truancy Fines: City Council Votes To Reduce $250 Fine For Being Late To Class (VIDEO)

The Vote Is In: Will $250 Truancy Tickets Stay?

Story comes courtesy of The City Maven.

Los Angeles students who are truant from school would not face a monetary fine until their third offense under a proposal unanimously approved today by the Los Angeles City Council.

The amended daytime curfew is expected to receive final approval next Wednesday.

Students who are stopped by police for not being in school would either have to show the court that they have an attendance plan that was developed with a guardian or perform 20 hours of community service over a 60-day period. If a student violates the daytime curfew three times, he could face a $20 fine, which would increase to as much as $155 with court fees. The current fine is $250.

“It’s really difficult for kids to pay that fine. It certainly puts a strain on families and really creates a system that is more designed to help people fail than to help people succeed,” said Judge Michael Nash, who presides over the Juvenile Dependency Court.

Between 2004 and 2009, LAPD and school officers issued 47,000 truancy tickets. African-American and Latino students accounted for 88 percent of those tickets, though they represent 74 percent of the student body, according to a report from the Public Safety Committee.

Los Angeles City Councilman Tony Cardenas spearheaded the change to the curfew.

“Truancy is a very important issue because school attendance rates are directly tied to school success and (are) a proven factor in reducing crime,” Cardenas said. “We’re going from a purely punitive model to a restorative justice model.”

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