It’s not quite a curfew, but rules aimed at stomping out truancy could soon give the local fuzz authority to crack down on games of hookie.
On Dec. 13, San Luis Obispo County supervisors gave an initial nod to a proposed truancy ordinance. The final ordinance is scheduled for a public hearing on Jan. 17, and—if passed—would go into effect 30 days later.
The ordinance is one of about a dozen proposals dreamed up by local officials since 2006 to stem high school dropout rates.
“You’re supposed to be in school, so if you choose not to go to school, that’s not good for our community,” Chief Probation Officer Jim Salio told New Times.
He said truancy is prohibited by California Education Code, but there’s little enforcement when local police have no ability to punish school kids who are caught ditching class.
Here are the basics of the ordinance:
• Minors subject to compulsory education (they should be in school) can’t be on the street during school hours.
• Law enforcement agents can temporarily detain minors they believe to be truant and return the minor to his or her parents or guardian.
• Truant minors can be penalized in Juvenile Informal Traffic Court.
Parents, however, are in the clear—at least in regard to SLO County’s plan. According to Salio, there are existing sanctions against California parents who don’t enroll their kids in school. He added that a daytime curfew—in the strictest sense—was considered, but ultimately thrown out.
Supervisors unanimously introduced the ordinance to pave the way for a future hearing with little discussion. Salio said he hasn’t heard any negative feedback on the proposal, but noted that most of the comments will probably come in when the ordinance goes to an official public hearing.