A measure to improve how Los Angeles deals with truant students passed one more hurdle Monday morning after it was approved at the city's public safety committee meeting in Van Nuys.
L.A. City Councilmember Tony Cardenas has proposed the city council amend its current truancy law, which allows police to issue $250 tickets to students for being out of class, so that those on their way or running late would not be cited.
The measure is part of an effort to focus on a more holistic, root-cause-based effort to solving student attendance problems so that kids are kept in school.
Reform backers have worked to gain such changes for years and argued that "get-tough" measures actually work against education goals as students then miss time in school going to court.
Such measures have also been criticized by civil rights organizations for unfairly targeting minority students and creating more hardships for students and families.
The change would put into city law recent new policies by the Los Angeles Police Department and the Los Angeles School Police Department. It would also complement directives to dismiss cases for students running late or on the way to school who recieve such tickets as well as eliminate fines, which were issued by Michael Nash, presiding judge of the Los Angeles County Juvenile Court.
Earlier this month, a county task force approved a report with far-reaching recommendations to deal with student attendance after more than a year of study. One of its recommendations included passage of this measure.
The measure now goes on to the L.A. City Council next Wednesday for a vote. If it is passes the full council vote, it will go on to the Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa for signature. If approved, the law would go into effect about 30 to 45 days afterward, Cardenas said.
Stay tuned for more updates from today's meeting and a morning rally with students, teachers, parents and community members.
Tami Abdollah can be reached via email and on Twitter (@latams).