On the average day, as many as 4,000 Oakland kids (out of more than 40,000 public school chidren) are out of school, according to an analysis by the Oakland Think Tank, an independent local group which has identified truancy as the city’s number one problem.
The OTT has urged the school district and various city and county agencies to create a special program that looks at short-term and long-term fixes. Read its truancy resolution here.
Of course, Oakland isn’t the only community dealing with the effects of chronic school-skippers. In fact, the Oceanside Police Department has recently unveiled an idea of its own to stem truancy in the San Diego-area city (school district enrollment: 21,000).
According to the Associated Press, Oceanside cops want the authority to fine truants and order them to do community service. As of now, as I understand it, police have two options for kids who ditch class: Detain them or take them back to school.
How well do you think such a fine would work in Oakland — or anywhere else, for that matter? What solutions would you put forward?
Here is the AP story:
Oceanside police want $250 fines for kids who ditch school
OCEANSIDE, Calif. (AP) _ Kids who ditch school in Oceanside could soon face $250 fines.
The Oceanside Police Department wants the city to give officers authority to fine truants or order them to perform community service.
State law allows police officers to detain truant students and escort them home or to school. But the ordinance being considered by the City Council on Wednesday would impose fines or community service.
Oceanside Unified School District superintendent Larry Perondi favors the plan, saying fines might get the attention of aloof parents.
Police Chief Frank McCoy says daytime crimes would likely drop significantly, noting juveniles were responsible for 45 percent of the 47 cases of robbery, residential burglary, graffiti and auto theft solved so far this year.
image from Stabbins Lee’s site at flickr.com/creativecommons