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Ticketing towards prisons: LAUSD’s truancy tickets and the pre-prisoning of our youth

For the past 2 months, Taking Action student organizers at Westchester and Cleveland High Schools have collected over 700 surveys documenting truancy tickets, the conduct of school police and rates of suspensions. We have also conducted several focus groups with students about their personal experiences. This blog is the first in a series in which the Community Rights campaign shares our impressions and findings.

Did you ever come late to school?  Of course, we all did at least a few times. 

And I'm sure the reasons varied.  Maybe your alarm clock didn't go off. Maybe the bus was late. Maybe you had stayed up late the night before cramming for a test.  Maybe you were procrastinating because you didn't want to deal with the school life drama you knew awaited you. Whatever the reason, we all know that coming late to school was part of growing up.

Do you remember what happened when you did come late? Some of us probably just went straight to class, got a look by the teacher, a warning this would affect our grade.  Maybe some of us had to serve detention when the tardies started adding up.

Well, times have changed.

Students in Los Angeles can now get $250 truancy tickets* - not only when they are caught being truant (something we also all probably did at least a few times!) but when they are simply late.

These truancy tickets are part of a broader shift in educational policy.  Public schools are now using tickets as a form of discipline and employing police-not teachers, not counselors-as the first responders.  It is part of a "zero tolerance" philosophy that emphasizes punitive policies, law enforcement, and courts as the "necessary" solutions, creating conditions of "pre-prisons" rather than educational environments for our Black and Brown youth who make up the majority of our public schools. 

And so our young people now face ticketing as a daily reality. They get tickets for fighting. Tickets for going off campus at lunch without permission.  Tickets for skateboarding on school campus without a helmet. And, truancy tickets for being tardy.

So, you're 15 mins late and in handcuffs.  The fine is $250.

Andre (names have been changed to protect privacy), a 9th grade Latino, got a truancy ticket at 8:03am on his way to school. He and his friends were handcuffed and when they told the officer that the cuffs were hurting their hands, he responded "Too bad, I am the one who runs this show."

Shavette and Jamie, two young Black women I interviewed at one of the focus groups, got truancy tickets at 8:15am getting off the bus a few blocks from school.  It's one of the bus lines that is so crowded it often passes students up, forcing them to wait for the next one (and be late).  

Why isn't MTA getting a ticket for not providing enough bus service for students?  

Can you imagine if teachers got tickets when they were late to work? Just picture the headline: "Police get tough on teachers, $250 tickets given to two teachers who arrive late after traffic jam on the 405."

Going to court: The ticket is only the beginning

When you get a citation you have to go to court on a weekday. Yes, that means missing a school day.  And your parent/guardian has to go as well, so they have to miss a work day, too.

The lost time is only half of the problem.  The citations are expensive. And they can go up with added court fees. There are ways to bring down the cost of your tickets such as taking a Saturday class. But no matter what, you end up paying significant money-up to $55 for the class and $35 for the certificate. 

Consequences: "Why is it the poor people who get the highest tickets?"

80% of LAUSD students are Title I, meaning their families are below the poverty line. That means truancy tickets are given overwhelmingly to low-income, majority Black and Brown youth whose families are now going to pay money they most certainly do not have at their disposal. As 11th-grader Heaven pointed out, "Why is it the poor people who get the highest tickets?"  Her point resonates-is it really the upper middle class private school kids getting these fines? Of course not.

One young man I spoke to told me that he had gotten several tickets when he was 14. He was going through a rough time in his life and he didn't make it to court and he didn't pay the fines. What he didn't know was that his unpaid tickets were forwarded to the DMV. Five years later, he got himself back on his feet and was going to a continuation school, working to get his high school diploma. When his class took a day trip to the DMV to help the students get licenses (something you need for many jobs), he was painfully rejected and told he owed hundreds of dollars because of unpaid truancy tickets!  So here he is, a young man trying to get his diploma and go to community college (with rising tuitions remember), and before he gets in the door he already owes hundreds of dollars for tickets he got when he was 14-years-old. 

Dozens of students have told us that the risk of getting a ticket deters them from going to school when they are running late.  In other words, these tickets are actually contributing to full day absences, since neither the students nor the parents want to risk such an expensive ordeal.  

Your option is to have your mother arrested or fined

Lanicia, another young woman I interviewed, has 3 tickets - 2 for being caught ditching and 1 for being late.  She has not gone to court because her mom can't miss work and her aunty and grandma (who could go) do not count as her legal guardian.  What should Shavette do?  According to a referee I spoke to (they are the acting judges at the Juvenile Traffic Court), she can go to a Pupil Services Counselor who can get the LASPD to "make" her mom go to court.  So basically, her option is to arrest or fine her own mother for not being able to miss her job, or pay the tickets with money she does not have.

If the system wants to ticket anyone for "non-compliance," it should begin by ticketing itself

Should young people be expected to go to school on time?  Should there be consequences for being truant?  Of course.  But the system should also be expected to ensure that schools are adequate learning environments, with enough resources to ensure culturally relevant, quality education.

Instead, we have schools that have more cops than counselors. Westchester High School, for example, had no permanent college counselor for an entire year but had two police officers.  Instead of giving our children a good education, we have a curriculum that increasingly just wants to teach them how to take tests. Instead of doing everything possible to keep students in school, the system is pushing them out-through ticketing, through rampant suspension, through "zero tolerance" discipline-to boost test scores. 

Breaking the connection from schools to prisons

We must question and challenge the whole notion of bringing law enforcement, tickets and the courts into student discipline issues.

The prison system is already bursting at the seams because of discriminatory laws and racialized sentencing. The vast majority of the 2.3 million adults in prison are Black and Latino men and women. By criminalizing student life, school disciplinary policies and practices are turning our schools into "pre-prisons," pushing Black and Latino youth to the teetering edge of an adult prison system waiting to snatch them up at younger and younger ages.

The Community Rights Campaign is working to challenge truancy tickets and the pre-prison conditions of our schools.  We need your stories, your ideas, your involvement.  Please call us (213) 387-2800 to get involved.

 

*According to Los Angeles municipal code 45.04, citations are "not to exceed $250."  However, we have been made aware by a Referee (the acting judges who preside over the truancy cases) that the fines have increased recently to be $301 for the second tickets and $985 for the third. This is likely due to increased court fees as the municipal code remains at $250. We will be updating you shortly on whether these added fees have been made official.  

 

Comments

hello my name is Kia this is my first ticket ive seem to arrive late today , this is my FIRST truancy ticket i was wonder what could me the cost on this ticket ?

It is really funny how all of this is mainly said about young blacks n Hispanic student that is just racist the fast that we are the only ones who supposably get into gangs and drugs. At my school and any other school I surely see whites and other race students in gangs and especially doing drugs. And what if the case was that your sick you can hardly see your parent because they are working hard to put food on the table n cnt write a letter to school explaining why you are absent. I would not like to see my mother in jail or paying for my mistakes. They should take in the student and make them work for it. Lausd is just plain stupid they just want to get money anyways they can when they are using it for idiotic reasons like building a new gym when they already have 2 and hiding the money from the students and teachers. I asked my teacher where does all the money go to and he replied I really dnt know. Like wth my school has many interruption because filming crews want to make movies b shows but yet that money seems to disappear.

Okay so I got a ticket for being late to school back in 2009 or so...
I was actually on my way to school and right when i turned the block the cops had stopped me. I did not pay this ticket and now that i was trying to do something i was denied and I'm thinking it was because of that ticket...But I'm not sure if it was because of that... But my question is..Does the ticket follow you? or does it erase after you turn 18 as i was told?

hi um im sorry but im at the age of 15 and i dont agree i mean i love my mom and she is a teacher a very hard working one to, well now she has to miss a day of work to go to court with me cause i got truancy and her check gets money deducted out of and i dont think thats fair how do i solve this cause she is going to hate me if i get her a fine or arrested.

my son gets sick
not something you can fake like oh my belly hurts its the cough that hurts you when you hear it
i have a new job that does not have health benefits i work from 6 am to 6 pm
and by the time i get home it is to late for me to find somewhere to take him i have friends that are nurses who come and tell me that he is legit sick
but i write notes telling them that and giving them at the very least 4 numbers where they can contact me and do i ever get a call no but months later am asked to attend a meeting with the school and the district attorney and in this meeting they are telling me how they know that most kids are ditching because of gang and drug reasons there is cookies and soda like a birthday party some lady talking about how god spoke to her and told her she needs to drive some buss knowing i took off of work to be here about a serious issue.
LAUSD is very negligent and wastes money for nothing putting an elevator to take disabled kids all the way to the highest seat in the bleachers for school events.
my son comes home and tells me about some kids who are doing drugs in his class
and we are the ones who are being punished.
nurses don't do anything but call the parents and tell them to come pick up their kids the school system has failed my child and i am upset i hope i get my day in court!

Hi Rosalia, Thank you for sharing your story. It is inexcusable what your son and family have had to experience due to the lack of resources in our public schools to properly track attendance and respond to attendance issues in a manner that does not further criminalize students (as you raised wrongfully profiling "truants" as potential gang members) and their families or require them to miss additional class time in court or any other removed space from school – unfortunately your experience is not unfamiliar to many students and families within LAUSD. Too often students and their families have reported the dehumanizing and humiliating experiences they have had in court and in their schools with law enforcement and school administration around issues of tardiness/truancy.  As you shared, the current approach to addressing attendance is not only not cost efficient (to the District but also families) but it fails to address the root causes of tardiness or truancy or take responsibility for an overall failing educational system.  Many families do not have access to proper health care, transportation, housing, and other important necessities and resources that impact their children’s ability to go to school. Students face enough challenges getting to school and when they arrive they are often met with hostile and punitive school environments. We could create a network of resources and services for students and their families that would be much more cost effective and impactful in improving attendance and graduation rates.

My daughter has received two truancy tickets in the past six months. When we went to court, I was able to sit in on a few other kids who received a truancy ticket. The judge/referee was very clear about the law: "Was it your intention not to go STRAIGHT to school or were you making an effort to get there as soon as possible?" Most of the kids said, "I didn't want to go to school right away." or "I wanted to miss my first period." What I saw was all the kids had no intention of going to school right away or at all. That is why they received a truancy ticket. Not one kid said they were on their merry way to class and the "popo" stopped me from doing so.

My daughter was not different. Yes, she gave me all kinds of excuses and I believed her. Then, I found out the truth that she went to McDonalds before her first class after I made her a huge breakfast.

I don't believe in criminalizing our kids. However, I do believe some of them do these things intentionally and then look for every excuse in the book.

Please look at all the facts to each one before passing judgement on who is at fault. I was the first to defend my daughter with the cop only to be told by the McDonald's manager that my daughter went to his store every morning after I dropped her off at school. I always thought she was safe in school. I apologized to the cop when I found out the truth.

Parents - find out the truth and do not judge anyone before. My daughter was always a quiet angel who received all that she needed (not wanted) to get through school. Don't be blinded by the few stories of misled facts.

FRD

FRD,

Do you think it's OK to force your child to do something that's bad for them?

Maybe the children understand that something is wrong in school.

Nazi Germany may have had children who didn't want to join the SS and kill their friends, too.
Would you think it's OK to lie to save a friend?

How about your own spirit? Some schools kill children's spirits. Maybe these children have morals and a conscience and feel they are trapped, have no power and even their parents wouldn't understand!

Have you been in school lately to understand what it's like these days? Have you tried? Oh, no? You can only sit in 20 minutes with prior notice? Gee, that sounds like...visitation rights!

If children don't want to be in school, there may be several good reasons. Are we listening to the children or just punishing them to get compliance? Resistance is futile, eh? How many U.S. school children are on anti-depressants, attempting suicide or cutting on themselves? Do you think there may be a correlation with school?

I think it's time we stop giving carte blanche to strangers, and start believing in our children again.

No more denial of humanity and the humane treatment of children--and parents.

Thank you, FRD, for your comment and engagement with this issue. We also agree that when a student starts skipping school there is a real problem that needs to be addressed, which can and should include the student's own accountability.

But we do not believe it should handled as a "criminal" issue. We believe that allowing police and the courts to handle students' behavioral and emotional issues or school discipline issues is a dangerous road to go down and further stigmatizes and criminalizes our youth.

Given how many of our Black and Brown youth and families are already ensnared by the criminal legal system--a system so tainted by layers of institutional racism--, we want to minimize interface with it and address the issues at their root instead.

The more that everyday issues such as students skipping class or people being homeless are turned into "crimes," the more people are swept up into the ever widening net of the criminal legal system.

We know there are many reasons why young people come late to school or are truant. And we do agree that holding students accountable for their own actions must be a part of how we deal with truancy, but we want accountability and solutions that steer our youth away from the penal system, not towards it.

When a student is having problems being truant or tardy (or having any other school disciplinary issue), their school should provide counseling, peer mediation, and/or family services. Schools also need accountability and disciplinary mechanisms but instead of being police/tickets/courts those mechanisms should be determined by each school with its school community that includes students, parents, and teachers.

As an educator and a parent I know how important it is to teach young people to be responsible for their actions and hold them to high standards.

BUT Youth learn more by what we do then what we say.......so we say we want them in school and that they NEED to get an education...but public schools do away with school buses to get students to school-- we take away courses that engage and hold their interest and force them to take classes that ignore their history and focus on test taking not critical thinking---we place them in buildings that look like prisons and hospitals.....and now we have made young people responsible to get themselves to school in a city were public transportation often fails even the most educated and patiently well planned adult----we serve them a curriculum most research shows does not engage kids and we do this in buildings where this is often only one way in and one way out.....just like prisons........and then our young beautiful minds are ciminialized for not getting to school on time, for 'acting up' in defiance of a system that does not see them in a building that is dead, sterile, and void of life........

So for me...I say it is a testimony to the power of youth that so many kids actually do come to school--and get their on time, and that they survive the public school system....yes!! our young people's strength and perseverance in a broken, corrupt, and disfunctional system is the miracle in this story.

A kid running a few minutes late to school is handcuffed for no other reason besides the fact that he didn't get to class in time? A $250 fine - not necessarily for being truant - but just for being tardy? Families being dragged into court to 'learn their lesson?' What is wrong with all of this?!?

Then there's the myth of individual responsibility. And hey- why not? This philosophy is ingrained into our mindsets as young children. We're responsible for our individual actions; if we're not successful, it's because we didn't work hard enough; if we're poor, it's because we're lazy; if we play by the rules, we'll be rewarded, etc.

But what about the school system and, in general, society's failure to provide the youth a decent, quality education.

If these kids are tardy- and maybe truant- in epidemic numbers, we should find the root causes of this problem. I think Lisa Adler's report does an exemplary job of telling us the reality of life for so many low-income youth in our inner cities. Running to chase after buses, taking care of other siblings because their parents are working, having to take an after-school job themselves, etc.

How about the 'responsibility' of school administrators.

Maybe students aren't that excited to get to school or are skipping out on school altogether because they've lost the motivation. Maybe school seems irrelevant to them. With budget cuts, less extracurricular activities, bigger classrooms and other issues, maybe it's the SCHOOLS that lack 'compliancy.'

And the solution? Always punitive. And usually disproportionate to the so-called crime committed. As the article states, a great majority of the 2.3 million jailed in this country come from neighborhoods like the ones where Cleveland and Westchester highs are located.

If we don't change this 'get out of line and we'll bust your head in' attitude, young people will take these measures for what they are: another push to keep them away from getting a good education and becoming important contributors to society.

School years should be the best. We're growing, exploring, and finding our identities. The world is an exciting place full of wonder, holding untold mysteries and surprises. This article shows how the LA school police and city policy is depriving - and criminalizing - our youth to reflect their narrow, pre-conceived notions.

Thank you for writing this.

The notion that young people should be treated with such harsh punishment for such small trespasses or circumstances outside of their control-- rather than with adaquate resources and supportive mentorship from the social institutions that are supposed to educate them--is so deeply disturbing. Who benefits from this marraige of schools & the police/prison system? Certainly not young people of color. Certainly not their families, or communities, or even their schools. If we want our young people to have a chance to learn and to live to their fullest potential we must stop criminalizing them! Thank you for exposing this issue & for the work of the Community Rights Campaign to fight back in defense of students.

Lisa:

Thank you for articulating the many complexities that face our young ones as they come to school. As an educator who has facilitated classes in Watts, Hawthorne, and Long Beach (as well as Chicago and New York), I know the frustration that comes with preparing curriculum, navigating administration with students needs, and having to repeat instructions several times due to late students and absences. I do not want any teachers/ staff/ individuals to feel that your article ignores their feelings in the situation, but adds another dimension to the issue: why are young ones detached from an educational structure and experience, or less than 100% invested.

As an educator, my heart is with my students and ensuring that I help them grow as individuals and as part of their community to be better inter-dependent human beings who can help provide for their families. Part of that inter-dependence is accountability; yet this manifests not punitively but working with them in a supportive fashion to cover all the reasons that they may be late, discussing changes that can occur, and holding them accountable to the decisions THEY make for themselves.

Educators and families need to work together to create a community based solution to an issue that is present. Your writing offers so many facts, realities, and stories untold that will enable that solution to be based in a true community vision.

Life Language Land
Mark Gonzales

When you school is around the corner, walking distance from home it is an easy thing to get to school on time. But when other factors are involved it can really complicate the matter and sometimes out of your control.

And let’s us be real the majority of students being sited and poor majority black and brown. If a child’s school is ten miles or more from home and there are no school buses that provide on time pick up and delivery and the child has to depend on public transportation especially in black and brown communities where public transportation being on time is not a priority then a child is subject to being late. It is hard to believe in this day and age a child that has a two hour bus ride to get to school on time must get up early enough to be out the door 5:30am to get to school for 8am. This means this same child has that same experience roundtrip. And after all that they get a truancy ticket for up to $250.00

Some might and will say that this a learning experience to the path of adulthood, then are you saying in our workplace employees should be fined and appear in court because of tardiness. Or are we using truancy tickets excessively to push these students out of school and into the prison system because a lack of education will continue the cycle of poverty. If we are giving fines to the parents of the poor (because that’s what this is doing these students can’t pay these fine their parents do) these same parents and students should have the ability to fine those in authority who are late with textbooks visual aids of learning, those in charge of the bus that arrives late.

Of course tardiness will not be standards. There are alternatives to tickets that are available and not used. Truancy should not be a crime.

Barbara

Thank you Lisa for your article. I thought it was very insightful and clear. In response to the article and comments, I think the most important thing to pay attention to is privilege. I attended Cleveland High school and graduated in 2007. I never had to deal with being late or getting truancy tickets, because I had my own car to get to school. I would see what would happen to students, but was personally disconnected.

It wasn't until I was stuck in a "tardy sweep". This is where teachers close all the doors when the bell rings and all the students who are locked out have to report to school police or security to get written up. One time I was back on campus late from my lunch break. I was trying to get to class, but didn't make it on time. I was caught in the sweep and I saw first-hand the injustice and harassment that students of color receive on a daily basis. The only two white people in the sweep were two white girls who got to go to class because they claimed to had to take a test (I knew them and they were lying). Others said that they had other important things to do, but they were told they had to stay.

What kind of message does this give these students? That their education isn't as important as these two white girls? People kept saying that they had to go to class and kept asking if they could quickly get written up so they could go. Apparently this is considered being a "trouble-maker", so administrators made all the students leave the shaded lunch area to stand under the San Fernando Valley sun, which was about 102 degrees that summer afternoon. People who spoke up and said "this is bullshit" had their backpacks searched. They were right, it was bullshit. What kind of mentality does this create in young students of color when they are taught that they do not belong in classroom, but their place is to be out in the sun getting their property search? This is the epitome of criminalizing the youth. Think about how this plays out on the streets, when school is out. I left that tardy sweep feeling angry, humiliated, and never wanting to return to school EVER again. Now imagine being treated like that everyday in an environment that is supposed to bring out and nurture your intelligence.

I have noticed adults, white folks, and people who work in positions of authority have a really hard time wrapping their head around racism and the abuses of power. This makes sense because they have privileges that make Black and Brown struggles seem almost incomprehensible. It is easy for a driver to tell a bus rider to wake a few hours early to get to class on time. Or for a white person to tell a black person "that racism is all in their head". Even saying, "The reason why kids are late is because mom and/or dad is not instilling the right values in them", is a comment of privilege when you think about the range of severe issues struggling families of color have to deal with. It is the inability to connect on that level, because when people come from privilege the things they don’t have to deal with seem simpler than they actually are. It is important to not judge the complexity of people’s lives. If one is able to “literally get to work an hour early … to make sure my officers are on time as the public deserves“ that‘s great, but not everyone’s lives allow them to do that.

Lisa never said that people should not be accountable for being late. When I got caught in a tardy sweep I took full responsibility and so did the other students that I talked to. If you are late, you are late and it makes it hard on teachers who have a curriculum and students who are there on time. Okay, understandable. But it’s important to not diverge from the main points, which are the prioritizing of punishment over education and the militant consequences are being enforced for simply being late to school.

Police presence and truancy tickets on campus have hushed the potentials and talents in a classroom full of students.

You dnt understand... majority of the kids that are being late to school and being cited are kids that take the bus 2 the school how in the hell are they supposed to get a note explaing how the bus screwed them over?...Its one thing to come to school @ 9:00 in a car without a note.and be cited ..its another thing to come 2 school @ 8:15 by way of the Metro without a note.and be cited.It has nothing to do with being punctual, or the values parents gives to their kids...If We didnt have good valUes....We wouldnt be @ skool...All yall want iz a lil extra change on the side to go in ya pockets....UDGAD About us

Lisa,

Thanks so much for your thoughtful and serious piece on this atrocious practice that criminalizes people for having the gall to be poor. It's great that your organization is taking on the abolition of this completely absurd and unjust practice.

T

When it comes to many of the actions, behavior, and choices a child make, the parents are to blame. But when it comes to students continueous tardies due to poor public transportation, the parents are not to blame.
As a child coming from very disciplanary parents, I do not see how they are the ones at fault for several tardies i have received since I began taking the bus about a month or so ago to and from school. It is MTA's fault for not prioritizing minority bus riders, whom make up the majority of MTA ridership.

As a current high school senior at Westchester High School I have notice the change in the students since my older siblings graduated as ealry as 1998. The community has began to wonder why Westchester has not been as academically strong and school spirited as the years my siblings went there. Maybe it has something to do with these horrible polices the school is supporting and inforcing.

Writing a note that says "my child was late due to poor bus service" is not going to excuse a child from being tardy. A note is only excused if it comes from a dentist or doctors office, or due to illness.

"It's better to show up late than not at all", an old saying that I believe is true. But by previous comments I see that this is the opposite of what is wanted. Why would you want a student to stay home rather than come to school late? Speaking of proper parenting, my mother would not allow me to do so. No one stays home unless they are sick, this has always been a household rule. So someone like myself whom is planning to go to college and make a future for myself is threaten to receive a ticket due to poor bus service. Leading me closer to prison, than receiving an education. With LAUSD's horrible high school drop out rate of 50%, I don't see how anyone can afford to miss a day of school.

If parents need to do anything, they need to start complaining about a better transportation so their child can get to school on time. So they are not forced to miss a day of unpaid work to take their child to court, which in these hard economic times, they cannot afford to do.

Why are we criminalizing our youth for GOING TO SCHOOL a few minutes late. It's ridiculous! People, wake up and smell the coffee. The students are not to blame. The parents are not to blame. MTA are the ones to blame . Students need a good transportation system to receive an education, period. Better transportaion= educational access. We need better transportaion, not tickets!

I was an LAUSD student my entire life, and then I currently work for LAUSD. I see how much youth of color are being criminalized on a daily basis. I think that Lisa is bringing up such a central question about how we see the development of young people as a whole, and young people of color in particular. Punitive measures are not a helpful tool in how we raise our youth.

I need people young people need us to have compassion and see them as the human beings that they are.

Mr. Friendly Officer, you cannot say that parents need to instill "the right values", enough said. I have a mother that do not accept "C's" on my report card. I am a good standing student as well as the majority of my peers. I feel safe to say that my mother as well as other student's mothers instill the right values in them. For bus riders, tardiness comes with the territory. I lives 8 minutes away from my school (Westchester High), that is 3.68miles. I am forced to take the bus because my mother does not drive. So knowing that I get to the bus stop every morning at 6:47am, I dont get to school until 7:50am. If I'm lucky I'll get to school at 7:30.

So Mr. Friendly Ticket Officer, is it my fault the bus passed me up 3 times. I can't help the poor bus service. I can't force them to stop and pick me up. It is because of officers like you that contribute to the criminalization of youth. You give the youth tickets and about 80% of LAUSD students are under the Title I program, that means they get free or reduced meal tickets and qualify for fee waivers. So what does that mean for a student gets a $250 ticket, an inability to pay that ticket due to financial instability within the family. Please don't say "well make more money". Not possible, if you haven't noticed we're in a recession, that means we are in an economic crisis. For low income families that means money is exhausted. So when students don't have the money to pay these tickets, after awhile they get warrants then denied the ability to get driver's licenses.

You cannot say that we just need to go to school. We all want to get to school but give us better bus service to get us to schoo ON TIME. Give us better bus service to participate in extracurricular activities. Understand why we are getting to school late.

You need to be able to help us before you can lend an opinion about something you know nothing about, because whatever you say is not doing anything to help us get to school on time.

"The reason why kids are late is because mom and/or dad is not instilling the right values in them."

Oh really? Blame the crumbling family unit for a policy that does not even get close to reflecting the root of the problem? As a graduate of Westchester High and, as a child of parents with a high moral code, the fact that I'd be late to school 2 days out of 5 did not make them irresponsible out-of-the-picture parents. They were incredibly hands on. Here's the problem:

I lived a 15 minute drive from school. It took two hours on the bus to get there. I'd leave right before 6 am to get on the bus, since both parents work jobs with pre-dawn hours. The bus would come at about 6:20 am, and I'd get dropped off at the second stop and literally WAIT for a bus to pull over for the next hour. The overcrowded buses could not pull over and take on students. And some that could, often refused to. Why? Because the color of our skin would possibly intimidate their passengers.

Who's losing out here? A graduating senior with a spotless record now misses classes 2 days out of the week because of an instituted tardy policy that not only would mercilessly ticket, but also, retain students in lockdown in an auditorium for two hours, missing class altogether instead of just the first 10-15 minutes.

Does the crime merit the punishment? Yes, there is a distinct need to acknowledge personal responsibility in those matters, and I fully accept that argument. But the fact is, the policy cannot be so black and white, because often, there are so many other elements that hinder a students arrival, and those elements are the ones we should be focusing in on. It's a lot more systematic than it appears to be, and students are just pawns in that game.

Citing them is NOT the right thing to do. Court dates then cut into school dates and the cycle of students losing out and getting left behind increases. Sure, ultimately, these same students become drop outs and end up in your jails sir, prompting for your job security as well as the rest of your officers, but, that protect and serve ideology that should, in a moral sense prompt you to offer students a ride and gateway them into these educational facilities, is actually not protecting their right to GET to school, but is also a disservice when retaining them from attaining the little education this system has left to offer.

"If you are late with a note it is legal, so dont come to school late or if you do have a note."

Because every student should anticipate that their school bus driver will be late, or that the buses will be late, even if they've left hours before school starts to get there. So, okay, I recommend, every child walk out of their home with a pre-written and signed note, just in case. Protect yourself. I get it.

Do you hold anyone responsible for anything?

I am a police supervisor and I literally get to work an hour early so I retain the ethical ability to make sure my officers are on time as the public deserves.

The reason why kids are late us because mom and/or dad is not instilling the right values in them.

Citing them is the right thing to do.

You make an excuse of some sort for every kid here. That is why the behavior continues. Get to school or get a ticket, enough said. Quit whining and as my Army drill sergeant used to say "man up."

Successful employees need punctuality and the courage to admit they made a mistake . Please encourage both traits.

Officer, your position is so-called "tough love," but it is all tough and no love. Discipline, if it is to be *self*-discipline, must flow from a positive sense of identity, and you cannot create that self-respect through a regime of external punishment.

When the military "shapes" (with brute negative force) human beings, what they are starting with is a person who had some measure of positive love and support that made it possible for them to exist and stand up in the first place. That does not come from military discipline - it comes from the love of parents, and the positive support of a community.

The military, and other organizations based upon hierarchical control, typically give no credit to the parents (especially mothers) and communities that raise the children that they then recruit as soldiers (often through deception) and chip away at with their chisels until these young people suit the organization's narrowly-defined purposes. Instead, they claim that the military training "made a man of them."

Although I don't know you personally, I believe that it is your own experience in being shaped by these discipline and control-based hierarchies (military and police) that makes the idea of positively supporting children in their schooling (instead of punishing them disproportionately in Catch-22 situations) seem so foreign to you. You have drunk the kool-aid of these hierarchies by believing that a human being can emerge solely from negative, disciplinary actions. But you cannot shape sand into a statue - there has to be something there to begin with, and that something, that substance, that which makes a person human, comes from positive nurturance and support, not from punishment.

Having a citing or ding for being late is one thing, but a HUGE $$$ ticket with the possibility to escalate into court appearances? You're acting like that's some kind of small slap on the wrist, when instead the point is that you're getting this punishment delivered by members of a criminal justice system, for all it is is being even less than 15 minutes late for school, NOT A JOB, NOT A DUTY. That's like saying it's illegal to be late to school. How about you start arresting your own officers for being late to work? Cite them and give them a $$$ ticket adjusted proportionately to their salary for failing to be on time to perform their sworn duty to the state!

Quit your own whining then!

I don’t believe the tardy fines / truancy as it pertains to tardiness is really only about the students and personal responsibility. With schools getting approx $1,000.00 per student from the state, I have a few questions. 1. How are LAUSD’s monies impacted by student tardy / truancy? 2. If it is not, how much revenue does LAUSD expect to generate yearly via current tardy / truancy fines. 3. If it is, how much revenue does LAUSD expect to/ does lose due to cumulating tardy / truancies per student? 4. Is this just one way of ensuring monies from a state that has none?

Another note: There is a procedure that each school and teacher much follow before any of the above action can take place. To parents, make sure that it was followed, to the letter and challenge the school, teacher and administrator if it has / was not!

If you are late with a note it is legal, so dont come to school late or if you do have a note.

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