Friday, May 14, 2010

New California truancy law

AP reports:
SACRAMENTO, Calif.—The state of California would hold parents responsible if their children are chronically truant under a bill the state Senate approved Thursday.

The bill would let prosecutors charge parents with misdemeanors punishable by up to a year in jail and a $2,000 fine if their kids miss too much school. Judges could delay the punishment to parents as an incentive to get their children to class.

It applies only to parents or guardians of children age 6 or older in kindergarten through eighth grade. Prosecutors would have to prove the parents failed to reasonably supervise and encourage the student to attend school.

Chronic truancy would be defined in a separate pending bill as missing 10 percent or more of the school year without a valid excuse.
The bill is Calif SB 1317.

A year in jail for missing some school seems extreme to me. The teachers at my kids' school seemed to waste about 50% of the time anyway. Nobody puts the teachers in jail for failing to teach.

My ex-wife asked CPS to send the police after missing a day of school. The cops reported that everything was fine. CPS normally does not intervene unless the kids are missing more than half of the school year.

I think this proposed law is ridiculous, but at least it would set a standard. I could miss 10% of the school year, and cite this law to say that it is legal.

20 comments:

Anonymous said...

the main reason this proposed law came about is because the very powerful CA teachers' union lobby must have had a hand in it. Schools lose state funding for every day a student is absent, regardless of the cause. As bureaucracies are wont, they will expand and protect their power and income.

If angry dads had a powerful lobby they could start overturning a lot of the nonsense in the courts and laws and how they're interpreted and enforced. The only way to changing laws now is on the pay-to-play basis: organization around a given cause/charter, a big wallet, and a big mouth in the statehouse. Simple as that. Like justice, you get the representation and laws you can afford.

Hughman said...

This law is in place in Britain. It does very little. Lots of fines handed out, but the media goes apeshit if parents do get some jailtime.

Trauncy has gone down slightly, but we think that's because of EMA (the State pays you if you're poor to be in college after 16. You get a higher rate and holiday bonuses if you have a 100% record)

~M~ said...

I think that the truancy law is a good thing! My ex husband took his sweet ass time moving from state to state with my children....end result they missed a total of 106 days of school since the end of 2008 and you know what has happened to him? NOTHING the school suggested I contact an attorney, I am sorry but I find my children's schooling to be very important whether or not the teachers are doing their jobs to your standard, you aren't at the schools so how do you know if they are doing their jobs? Also, if you have a complaint about how much they are learning file a report through the school.

shawn said...

My ex and I have legal guardianship of our nephew, (his biological nephew), the nephew lives with me and visits his Uncle on the weekends. If the Uncle takes the nephew and doesn't allow him to go to school am I still the one that will get punished?

George said...

You should get a warning letter before any action is taken. Usually the school is mainly concerned with getting its state funding.

Anonymous said...

You people who think this law is ridiculous and are saying the school districts only want it for the money are silly. I teach in a large urban district and it is very difficult to teach an empty chair. Everyone complains about our low test scores yet how do I raise a child's score who is absent 1 or 2 days PER WEEK?? You people who are always blaming the teachers unions really don't even know the half of what goes on in these schools and how the parents are NEVER held responsible for half of this stuff. I have no control over this yet am held responsible. Absurd.

Anonymous said...

I am a non custodial parent. If my former wife has custody 70% and the kid lives with her full time, does the state STILL go after me ? Thanks

Anonymous said...

How about for those people that think the state has no justification in making public school compulsory. There are those that have the will and means to educate at home. Why harass them with a stupid truancy law when the children are getting a far better education at home?

Anonymous said...

High five to the teacher.I am sick of lazy parents. Do your damn job. Teachers work their butts off because you slacked off. Angry Dad -- what would your JOB say if you missed 10% of work? I hope all your asses get thrown in jail for child abuse.

Linda said...

IDIOTS... some of you. I have a grandchild who missed 26 days of school this year. She was truly sick each and every time. I called the school to excuse her absence each and every time. According to the law, if I call in and excuse her as her legal guardian, that is an EXCUSED absence. The school has decided that after 15 excused absences, even if I call in and excuse her, she is UNexcused and now I am being prosecuted. They also said that she must be in school unless she have a fever of 102.5 or higher. So, she must attend school with a fever of 102. or 101.5? That my friend is crazy.

Anonymous said...

I found this site in search of using trunacy ot get custody or more time with my son.
My son have received Math Awards for the last 2 consecutive years. He is in 2nd grade. I help him with his homework, especially, with Math, however, I credit him on his own for the awards.
I am a non-custodial parent. My son tells me that his mother doesn't help him with his homework nor read with/to him. Thus, he does not have AR everyday as he should be.
The mother told me last night that she and her boyfriend will go camping next week and they will take my son with them.
I agree with this trunacy law. Perhaps I can use it to get custody of my son. I wouldn't take my son out of school just to go camping because, as the mother says, "Its the only time they can get". This is for 3 days and she already took him out of school just togo to the snow - also with her boyfriend.

Anonymous said...

I am being harassed because my child was sick 3 days and we took a trip for 2 day. Now they want a Dr. note for each absence. Will a Dr. see us for a simple cold or girly cramps? Now I have to let the children go to school sick. I hope next time they don't call me to get them. I work and will tell them, you want them everyday, TAKE CARE OF THEM!!!!

michele said...

Y'know..we're in a custody battle for my husbands twin daughters who are in kindergarten.. their mom enrolled them in school behind our backs on one of her weeks.. since school started at the end of august, these girls have missed 15 and 16 days of school! To us, that is unreasonable! She will even keep one home when not sick just because her sister is sick, saying its not fair to the sick child to see her sister get to go..what?! There definately needs to be some accountability! And if the kids are really sick that many days out of approx 70..take them to a dr or something to find out why!

Anonymous said...

While the truancy law seems extreme, guidelines should be in place to hold parents accountable. Especially for extreme cases. We just found out that my husbands kids missed 39, and 20 days of school from end of Aug to the middle of Dec. Children didn't say anything about it because they were either a) told not to or b) "know" they are not supposed to. Then their mom pulled them out of school to home school them, which we are not happy with(not against homeschooling but not with their mom please). She should go to jail for this and get a huge fine but what really need to happen is for full custody to be awarded to the father, or is "the best interest of the child" only apply to moms? The mother is unfit to parent. Kids who miss that much school at at a greater risk of drop-outs, loose income throughout their life, incarceration. btw, mother hasn't worked in 3 years, like mom like child-I hope not. Child will never become a veterinarian like she dreams if this is allowed to continue. Wish this law was in effect here.

Anonymous said...

If u actually parent your child u have no reason to be against this law stand up and parent your child give them a shot to actually succeed in life instead of being some ghetto child that only knows crime and how to work the system that's the problem with this country no education and too much welfare

Anonymous said...

The money a school receives for a student's attendance does not go to the teachers or their union, teacher salaries come from a separate negotiated fund and are paid no matter what, which is actually a lot less these days when you factor in the furloughs.

The attendance money pays for supplies, resources, building upkeep, etc...

Anonymous said...

The typical truancy rules are nothing more than revenue for the State Education System. There is no compassion for the well being of a child (or Safety). The majority drop out because of lack of financial stability in the home and/or a education system that is geared to support the masses (not individual). Each and every child is different, and should be treated as such!

Anonymous said...

Hi, I have a child who has been sick 25 days. She is in the 9th grade. She has been under a doctor's care. I have had the discussion with her doctor regarding her missing school. As her doctor says, her health is more important at this time. While an education is important, it can be still be obtained after my child regains her health.
Yet, her school is using this new law to suggest that she go to independent study.
I'm a single parent and I work full time.
This would mean that she spend the time alone at home or I have to somehow come up with the means to hire someone to care for her while I am at work.
Either situation is not good.
The school threatens the SARB board and punishment if I don't do this.
If the law was created to avoid truancy and avoid the possibility of exposure to drugs and crime, than this law is being sorely misused as it is creating situations where more children are home alone rather than in school.

Anonymous said...

I see a bunch of malarkey here. Anti Union and political crap! What I do not see are solutions.

Every Child is a unique person with a different situation. Money being spent by using Police and a Judge should have been directed at fixing the problem.

With the billionaires trying to remove all public schools for a taxpayer funded profit for corp school which teaches their agenda I would suggest Parents get involved, come up with a solution, and maybe give the kids a reason to go to school.

I went to California Public School and it was a good fun place to go. I can remember iron Man playing in the halls in Jr High School between classes.

These days the uptight bigots have made it an institution of hate.

Anonymous said...

we were on a trip back east form California and the blizzard and united's problems hit and our flight homw was cancelled 4 times and we were forced to stay an extra 11 days. We had planned to come back 3 days before the first day of school. we were completely unable to get home, there was no alternative way to get there, so we called the school told them what was going on and didn't lie and say she was sick which I guess would have made them happy. we contacted the teacher and got all of her school work so we could do it and came to school the very first chace we had which was after a red eye flight despite our teacher thinking it would be fine if our daughter rested. I talked to the principle even to make sure it was Ok and we wouldn't be marked a truant since we were stuck. the secretary at the school decided to go rogue and decided that travel is never a valid excuse, but illness always is so she marked us down as unexcused absences. we got the nasty truancy letter in the mail. maybe its not that big a deal but I don't like bing treated like a criminal and a liar and a bad parent because of a blizzard and the failure of United to give us a flight. the whole thing is terrible for the schools it breeds ill will amongst parents and you lose parent involvement, instead they are encouraging making up a story about illness. I think the secretary made a huge error but the principal already signed and sent the letter registering us as a truant to the state. The school is making enemies where they had a friend and a supporter.