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Council Passes Daytime Curfew Ordinance

Truant students can be fined up to $500 after multiple infractions.

A final reading of an ordinance imposing a daytime curfew for school-age children was unanimously approved by the Concord City Council Tuesday. 

Answering community concerns, the ordinance includes an exception for home-schooled children.

"There is an open opportunity for you to be able to obtain a student ID card listing your child as a home-schooled student," said Councilman Tim Grayson. "It is not mandated - it is just a convenience offered free of charge to you."

The curfew will apply to school-age students when they're supposed to be at school during regular attendance hours. Those found roaming around without a parent or a valid excuse can be fined up to $500 after multiple infractions. 

"We can give them a ticket for jay-walking but we couldn't do anything about them not being in school when they're supposed to," said Mayor Laura Hoffmeister.

Students found cutting class will get a warning the first time, fined $100 for a first violation, $200 for a second and the fine will increase to $500 for each violation after that. Parents who knowingly allow their children to skip school could also be fined on the same fine schedule.

 "... the goal of this ordinance is to stop potential mischief and other crimes in the community by putting teeth to the current state law," said Vice Mayor Ron Leone.

Leone, who has 35 years of background in education as a high school teacher, principal and director of student services,  said he has first-hand knowledge of the effects of truancy.

"It is a parent's legal responsibility to ensure their children attend school; It's the school's responsibility for teaching our children and its the City of Concord's responsibility to keep our citizens safe," said Leone.  

Though nobody spoke against the ordinance at Tuesday's Council meeting, Hoffmeister said a number of e-mails and phone messages in both agreement and opposition were entered into official record.

A law firm indicated the ordinance would be illegal if passed, citing an outdated precedent that the city attorney determined not applicable in California or was superseded by other case law, said Hoffmeister.

"We're on good legal grounds with this - it's modeled after other cities and has been found constitutional."

The law takes effect at the end of August.

Steve Cohn July 28, 2011 at 03:59 PM
This is a common sense response to a growing problem. Parents cannot keep their eyes on their children 24-7. The entire community needs to take responsibility. Children belong in school, not just for their own well being but for the well being of all school children. The school districts have to provide teachers for all registered students but the state funds the districts only when someone is actually in class. If a child is truant, all children pay the price. The city is taking a responsible step here. Other cities with truancy problems should follow suit.
Alison Goldsberry October 19, 2011 at 11:52 PM
This is an inappropriate set of consquences to a inappropriate group of people. You don't take people who generally come from a lower income bracket just to fine them a bunch of money they don't necessarily have. Parents can know where their children are if they would stay at home to educate and take care of them themselves. If the entire community really cared about these children, the consequence would be community service with the parent(s) by the child(rens) side(s). Children do belong in an educational environment but NOT an institutionalized one. The (school) districts appreciate taxpayer money and the guy or gal at the top get the most pay. The teachers miss out on much family time with their own children and for little pay. That is, the end result of suffocating our classrooms with an overabundance of students and not enough teachers. I agree with the city for taking a leadership role and I do respect their efforts. What I have NO respect for is how they target a person's wallet. This is a very disgusting display describing a lack of true compassion and desire to better our children who need a better role model in this city. Not a good example for more difficult and troubled cities.

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