Out in Concord, California (near my old stomping ground of Walnut Creek) they apparently have a serious truancy problem, and the city council think they have found the answer – hold the parents responsible…
It seems the city council has come up with a plan, they want the ability to fine parents of first-time offenders as much as $100. A second offense could cost the parents $200, and a third offense could result in a fine of as much as $500. (I wonder what happens when a parent can’t pay the fine – is the student able to “work off” the fine, or is the debt the responsibility of the parents? It doesn’t take long to see how this program could become a way for a rebellious teenager to “get back” at his parents by skipping school if the student gets off without any serious repercussions.)
According to a June 9th report, the local police perform a once-a-month sweep and pick up about 40 truant students – as the school year winds down, the numbers increase – as you would expect.
The previously mentioned fines are part of a daytime curfew that is being proposed to address three problems: the truant students tend to get involved in minor crimes (either as the perpetrators or victims), to keep students in class, and, finally, to make sure the school district doesn’t lose out on state funding:
“But there’s indeed a cost tied to playing hooky, as school funding hinges on attendance, which is recorded each period. Students out on the town during classroom hours take money away from already-decimated instructional budgets.”
But here’s an interesting twist – the fines collected as penalties from the proposed day time curfew, as a municipal not school district offense, go to the city, not the school district with its “decimated instructional budget.”
sanfrancisco.cbslocal.com: Concord Could Fine Students For Cutting Class
contracostatimes.com: Concord squad tackles truancy as proposed daytime curfew gathers steam