Updated-CRC's media impact snowballs as truancy code amendment heads to city hall vote
by Daniel Kim on Tuesday, February 14, 2012
We had a great mobilization yesterday for the Public Safety Committee vote, where the amendment to reform LAMC 45.04 was sent forward to City Council! Click here for full update and analysis of what went down.
Media coverage was very strong and on message, especially re the civil rights core of the problem. A lot of great visuals captured, too. Youth in CRC green shirts marching with Councilmember Tony Cardenas and LAUSD Board President Monica Garcia, standing shoulder to shoulder with Councilmember and Committee Chair Mitch Englander and our partners, Public Counsel and ACLU Southern California. And prison jumpsuits set against caps and gowns to show what's at stake!
Best of the day: KTLA TV "Live in Van Nuys"
This story ran live yesterday and brings our rally and movement to life. It then takes you inside the action inside the committee meeting. Must see.
La Opinion Editorial--"It is necessary to establish goodwill"
The largest Spanish-language daily in the country, La Opinion, took an official stand with CRC, ACLU, and Public Counsel's position urging LA City Council to embrace Councilmember Cardenas' proposal to amend the truancy ticket law, LAMC 45.04 "Day-Time Curfew."
The editorial board argues that LAPD and LA School Police Dept's positive directives were a good step but not the full solution:
The changes were positive in general, decreasing the number of tickets. However, we think it is necessary to establish goodwill through an ordinance that also addresses the various aspects of school truancy. To that end, today the Public Safety Committee will review a proposal from Councilman Tony Cárdenas.
LA Times and Daily News--"Enshrine last year's changes into city law"
Both ran stories explaining how the proposed amendment to the truancy code (LAMC 45.04 "Daytime Curfew") builds upon the LAPD and LASPD directives that the CRC-led campaign won last year.
The LA Times story--"Activists press council to ease truancy fines"--opens
with the CRC chant, "Pre-med, pre-jobs, NOT pre-prison!" and features
good quotes from Roybal HS alumnus and CRC member, Nabil Romero, and
from CRC partners, ACLU of SoCal and Public Counsel:
"They are criminalizing kids for coming to school late," said Laura Faer, education rights director for Public Counsel, a nonprofit public interest law firm. "It's backward in every way."
The Daily News piece--"Softer truancy policy gets committee's backing"--quotes Councilmember Cardenas:
Councilmember Tony Cardenas and LAUSD Board President Monica Garcia, standing shoulder to shoulder with Councilmember and Committee Chair Mitch Englander and our partners, Public Counsel and ACLU Southern California
89.3 KPCC Southern California Public Radio--"A lesson in civics"
Southern California Public Radio (89.3 KPCC) ran two stories, one about the committee meeting, and one about on our rally, "Truancy rally: In support of more graduation caps and gowns and fewer orange jump suits," and included a quote from CRC teacher Andrew Terranova:
"All too often students are affected by laws but they don't even see the faces of the people that make [them], and all too often our policymakers don't hear the voices of students taken into consideration as they make laws," said Andrew Terranova, who teaches at University High School and brought about 70 of his students with him. He has taught at LAUSD for eight years.
"For me, as a high school teacher, this law has been an abject failure," Terranova said. "It hasn't increased attendance at all. In fact, it's had the opposite effect. Many times I've asked students, 'Well, Joey, why were you absent yesterday?' And Joey will say, 'Mister, I was on my way, but I missed the connecting bus, and I turned around and went home. My mom can't afford to take another day off. My sister got a ticket already at court. My mom doesn't have sick days.'"
PBS News Hour, Washington Post
Resonating with the recent feature report in Huffington Post, our work in LA is being referenced nationally once more.
The Washington Post refers to our campaign against $250 truancy tickets in its story of the outrage sparked by harsh attendance enforcement in Loudon, Virginia: "Parents say Loudoun officials reaching too far to stop school tardies"
PBS News Hour places our efforts in relation to others around the country, including Washington DC and Atlanta, that are trying to move away from harsh, punitive attendance measures: "Schools Look to Holistic Approach to Improve Attendance"
More local coverage
Our rally and press conference were also covered by
NBC Local News: Motion Passed May Change LAUSD Truancy Law
USC-Annenberg TV News: Students Rally to Amend Truancy Law
It takes a team
Special thanks to the incredible work of the CRC organizing team: Ashley Franklin, Barbara Lott-Holland and the entire CRC steering committee of organizers and leaders; Manual Arts Taking Action Club; Andy Terranova, CRC leader and University High School Teacher; Mark Gomez, Manual Arts Teacher and Taking Action Club Advisor; the students of University High, Central High-Mar Vista, Locke High School #3; and the Bus Riders Union's organizers and members.
And a big thank you to our partners, Public Counsel, ACLU Southern California, Dignity In School Campaign--LA, and the offices of Councilmember Tony Cardenas and LAUSD Board President Monica Garcia.