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LAPD agrees to avoid ticketing tardy students on their way to school

The Los Angeles Police Department has agreed to avoid ticketing tardy students for being truant if they are on their way to school, advocates for students announced Thursday.

The tickets, which can result in hundreds of dollars in fines and lost school time, are exactly the wrong approach for achieving better attendance, according to those who are involved.

Truancy and tardiness remain serious problems in the Los Angeles Unified School District.

City and school police issued more than 47,000 tickets from 2004 to 2009 -- 88% of them to African American and Latino students, who make up about 74% of students.

Among the changes:
• Truancy sweeps generally will not occur during the first hour of classes
• Officers will generally ask students if they have a legitimate explanation for not being in class before they write a ticket
• Police will be urged to make getting students to school a higher priority than ticketing them
• Police will no longer ticket on school grounds, where school authorities will be responsible instead for dealing with tardy students.

Parties included in the negotiations included Public Counsel, the American Civil Liberties Union of Southern California, the Community Rights Campaign and the Los Angeles Police Department. L.A. Unified was not part of the agreement, but talks are ongoing between activists and officials.

School board member Tamar Galatzan, a deputy city attorney, said she welcomed “any agreement between law enforcement, school officials and community groups that results in our students being in class, ready to learn, when the bell rings.”

She added: “The best way for students to avoid truancy tickets is to get to school -- and be in class -- on time."

-- Howard Blume

Photo: Students arrive for school just before the 8:30 a.m. start at Antelope Valley High School. Administrators say the later start time has cut tardiness. Credit: Brian Vander Brug/Los Angeles Times

Comments () | Archives (32)

So now if you are black or hispanic you will not get tickets, but if you are white or asian you will. I wish you cops would not play the race card. This should have nothing to do with it.

I have a hard time envisioning LAPD officers sitting near schools with there ticket books out waiting for the bell to ring and nabbing kids a few minutes late for class.

Who knows?

One thing that would be nice. When an article quotes ticket rate by race and ethnicity it would be informative to also report truancy rates by race and ethnicity.

The City of Los Angeles criminalized being late for school? This requires the student to TAKE TIME OFF from school to go to court to pay a fine of several hundred dollars while missing MORE school? What a country!

This story reminds me of when I was late to high school about 20 years ago. I had missed the school bus so I had to take the RTD (anyone remember that?) I was walking the last few blocks to Roosevelt high, when a cop stops me and tells me to get in the squad car with my friends (2 other kids that I had never met). They took me to Hollenbeck park, where there was a place where they called our parents. My parents were just glad I'd made the 15 mile bus ride, but it didn't end there. I had to then meet with the Vice Principal and explain to him what happened otherwise I wouldn't be able to walk my graduation. So, instead of just being late to 1st period, I missed most of the school day.

Good. Then when they're adults they can expect to avoid tickets when they're late for appointments.

let's please make sure that students and parents do not have to take any responsibility for their education. truancies and tardies can be blamed on the teachers any way. the same thing happens with graffiti, school violence, students failing, students not knowing how to read or write, students dropping out. none of this is their fault. it's all the teacher's fault. thus, the teacher's pay out of their paychecks with pay cuts to compensate for the high cost of vandalism, "language learner" tests, training and curriculum, drop outs, etc. it's just too politically incorrect to hold this LAUSD population accountable. it's easier and less politically volatile to blame the teachers.

thanks, LAUSD, for ensuring a docile and passive generation that will believe their actions have no consequences, that will believe that the nanny state will take all responsibility, that will be victims. because victims make a good servant class.

I always had to be in school on time,what changed?


Elay is a bust. Just did away with a tax (fine) on school kids. Wow what will the city do to get money next? I guess they will start busting grandma's playing bingo at home now. Tax on that must be a few thousand with lawyers fee's and court costs. Get ready granny they're at your back door now.

whitenoise, did you read the actual article? LAUSD was not a party to this agreement. As for jeeter, where does it say whites and Asians will get ticketed? Sorry if facts get in the way of your agenda.

LAUSD doesn't have truancy officers?

If one is trying to use statistics to determine if there is any systemic bias against a particular race or races in the enforcement of truancy laws, the proper statistic to examine is what percentage of tardy and truant students are black or Latino, not the overall proportion. If 88% of the truancies in Los Angeles are black or Latino students, then the enforcement is spot-on.

"The Los Angeles Police Department has agreed to avoid ticketing tardy students for being truant if they are on their way to school, advocates for students announced Thursday."

And what do students learn from this? Reminds me of the bumper sticker - always on the slow-poke in front of you on the freeway: "I'm in no hurry, I'm on my way to work."

Kids need consequences. Getting consequented for tardiness will help the majority of students be motivated to get to school on time.

It's always entertaining and so descriptive of 'democracy' when reading a piece on how the Police agree not to enforce a law.

ticketing children for being late in the schoolyard?? This is what an 80,000/yr police officer spends time doing? Ridiculous

Let me get this straight. They are not responsible and on time to begin with, so when they now also break the law they are told that too is ok? And we wonder about what his being taught in schools these days. The lessons here are quite clear, you, misbehaving student, can set your own rules, and it is ok not to follow the law, and we will turn our heads while you do so. Great lesson for the kids. They will fit right in with this great new society.

Wow. A moment of clarity. Two years ago my son (an A student) received a ticket when he met me to get a book I was dropping off for him. I went to court to explain to the judge that he wasn't a truant. The judge said my son needed to be present to dismiss the case. I then asked the judge to clarify the benches position: that my son needed to skip school to attend court in order to prove he wasn't trying to skip school? The judge said "yes". The bailiff snickered.

Fine the parents, it's their responsibility to have their offspring follow the rules of our society. Let the parents miss work to pay fines, visit the school administration and provide the support structure to make sure these kids get educated and do not drop out. Morning LatchKey is just as potentially desructive as afternoon LatchKey scenario.
(Oh, and before ya'all start shooting back, I was a single mom of three with two jobs, no truancy in this crowd.)

We have just spent the last hour on lock down at LA High for a student who has just been shot on his way to school. He was late for school. I don't think he'll ever be late again-__=

How the heck is the police officer supposed to verify that they are on their way to school? Take their word for it? That's just stupid, in addition to violating the Equal Protection clause of the 14th Amendment.

Let's have another helping of crazy, shall we?

What most of you whining BOZOS dont realize is that most of the truanc sweeps are a result of a high number of residential burglaries near a school...when sweeps are done, the number of houses broken into goes way down...who do you bleedin hearts think is breaking into most of the houses ?? cat burglars with black masks????...its mostly these poor tardy kids your so quick to defend.....

"""" Police will be urged to make getting students to school a higher priority than ticketing them""" This is insane. We don't have enough officers patrolling and yet Beck wants them to look after students, is he crazy? What are the LAUSD Police Officers doing? Again, instead of sending the right message Beck is being weak and caving in to pressure to allow students to get their way because they are crybabies. This is why the rank and file are saying at least Bratton had more leadership skills and management. He knew how to handle these type of problems. Beck on the other hand has no guts to enforce the law.

What the article failed to mention was that when the police are tough on truancy violations, that burglaries in the area go down. As an LAPD officer, every juvenile that I stop for a truancy investigation has " a good excuse" for why they are not in school. Truancy tickets encourage parents to "be parents" and make sure that their kids go to school. Unfortunately, the best way to do this is by hitting them in the pocket book.

It is a Los Angeles Municipal Code that all juveniles have to be in school Monday-Friday between the hours of 8:30 am to 1:30 pm. Obviously there are exceptions such as half days at schools, etc.

Whenever I stop a kid for truancy I always ask them about their grades. The vast majority that I stop are getting failing grades. Most of them have a history of not going to school.

This is the second controversial decision made by Chief Beck in the past few weeks regarding enforcing certain laws (The first was his vehicle impound decision). It seems that he is easily influenced by liberal activist groups. He needs to let us enforce the laws as they are written. If he doesn't agree with the laws, then he needs to take it up with the legislators that wrote them and see if they can be changed. The laws in the state of California and in the city of LA are clearly written. It is not the Chief's job to pick and choose those that he likes and doesn't like for us to enforce.

Officer: you are correct, but Beck wants to keep his job. Beck, was the only one that would follower the mayor's orders.

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