San Gabriel Valley : Official Proposes Truancy Fines

One of the great ironies of skipping school is that it can get you kicked out of school.

Traditionally, truants are punished with suspension or expulsion. "Then they're back out on the streets, which is where we don't want them," said Pasadena City Prosecutor Tracy Webb. But school and city officials are looking for alternatives that will discourage truancy while keeping students in school. Coming up for consideration is a proposed city ordinance that would allow city police to cite youngsters who are out of class between 8:30 a.m. and 1:30 p.m.

Truants could then be fined $127 or sentenced to 27 hours of community service by a Juvenile Court judge, said Webb, who drafted the proposal. Under the measure, parents would be responsible for paying court and police costs.

The measure has so far been supported in theory by both the school board and the City Council, Webb said.

School Board Vice President Lisa Fowler said she supports the measure, modeled after similar regulations in Monrovia.

"It would take truancy out of the hands of school personnel and school police and put it into the hands of the public," Fowler said.

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