City Council Approves Truancy Fine Decrease [Updated]
[UPDATED February 22|4:13p.m. PST: The L.A. City Council voted 14-0 to preliminary approve a new truancy law that reduces the current fine from $250 to $20 for a third offense. If the new law is ultimately passed the first two truancy offenses will result in the student performing community service, tutoring or mentoring, or attending an after-school program. The City council will vote for final approval next week.]
The Los Angeles City Council will vote Wednesday on whether or not a current truancy law should be changed.
Currently, this law fines students up to $250 for being continuously late to school. With court fees, these fines could add up to more than $800.
Councilman Tony Cardenas does not believe that this is a productive way to make students more responsible.
“Why would we want to give them a fine and make them lose more school time?” said Cardenas. “We should be keeping them on campus.”
The Public Safety Committee, which Cardenas is a part of, passed a motion last week that would change the consequences to community service and other penalties with rehabilitating purposes. Cardenas said that this is designed to keep students out of the courtroom.
The committee believes that the current truancy law burdens low-income families who have to pay such hefty fines for something that Cardenas said "is not a crime."