Monday, February 27, 2012

Los Angeles considers decriminalizing truancy

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Los Angeles police officers detain students accused of truancy during a 2010 sweep in the San Pedro area
Because handcuffs = best way to deal with skipping school

Once again, plans are being made to overturn a blatantly absurd and unjust policy that I never knew existed (or even could exist). The Los Angeles City Council is now considering decriminalizing student tardiness and reducing police involvement in handling school-skipping youths:

Since the 1990s, cities large and small have adopted daytime curfews with monetary fines to force kids to get to school. Now, the City of Angels is at ground zero as the impact of such ordinances in reconsidered.

Next Monday, the Los Angeles City Council’s Public Safety Committee starts a review of proposed amendments to that city’s nine-year-old daytime curfew law. Among the proposals: setting limits on enforcement by police, who routinely search youths and sometimes handcuff them. The proposed amendments would also effectively end $250 fines in favor of negotiated agreements that tardy students submit to counseling.

While I normally support the enforcement of various public safety and well-being policies, I have to admit that I do have a problem with the idea of forcing anyone, of any age, to be at some designated location at any given point and time under penalty of being treated as a common criminal. While public schooling is incontrovertibly crucial, it should be up to parents, educators and other guardians to impart values about the importance of a proper education upon children. I’m all for using parental authority and the likes to get youths to go to school, but bringing in law enforcement to slap anyone accused of something as trivial as truancy with handcuffs and heavy fines is more than overbearing; it’s extreme to the point of being ridiculous.

At any rate, good on the city of Los Angeles for apparently coming to their senses, even if only in increments.

(via The Agitator)