"Updated" Media touts historic moment as LA City Council votes to amend truancy law

Resize celebration.jpgWhat a day.  The media gathered along with hundreds of LA high school students, parents and allies brought together by our CRC student leaders, members and organizers to watch the Los Angeles City Council vote 14-0 to amend LAMC 45.04, the Daytime Curfew Law responsible for punitive truancy and tardy ticketing.  Our standing-room only crowd applauded and then marched out of the council room, chanting and hugging in celebration.

Featured in NPR's Morning Edition, statewide California Public Radio (The California Report, KQED)

The best story of the day was told by California's statewide public radio news show, The California Report.  The story ran the next day on NPR's Morning Edition. Krissy Clark, LA Bureau Chief, ran a feature story that opens with Ferris Bueller's "Hollywood version" of truancy and then cuts to the harsh reality of truancy and tardy ticketing under LAMC 45.04.

Clark interviews recent high school graduate and CRC member Nabil Romero, CRC lead organizer Manuel Criollo, CRC-affiliated teacher Andrew Terranova, and CRC-affiliated lawyer Zoe Rawson about the LAMC 45.04's targeting of low-income students of color: "They're at greater risk because they are in public when they are
traveling to school, as opposed to students who are able to get rides to

Clark explains, "In richer neighborhoods, kids that are running late often escape tickets because their parents drive them to school and the daytime curfew only applies to 'unaccompanied minors.' But low-income kids often rely on city buses to get to school." 

Clark also interviews Judge Michael Nash, who presides over the County Juvenile Court, and LA School Police Chief Steve Zipperman: "We have to take a look at what can we do to resolve the root problem of truancy rather than the band-aid approach of just writing citations."

We hope everyone can listen to this excellent story that has been carried by public radio stations across the state, the California Teachers Union, and Youth Media International.

LA Times, Boston Herald

The Los Angeles Times online quoted CRC youth leader Cinthia Gonzalez, "To actually see all the hard work we have done -the petitioning, the protesting, the organizing -- has finally paid off. I feel great!"

Susan Ferriss posted an update to her feature coverage of the campaign for iWatch News and HuffPo.  She quoted Laura Faer, education rights director of CRC partner
Public Counsel, "The City Council has taken a historic step forward. With the passage of this motion, schools not police are now the first line of defense for attendance."  Meanwhile Ferriss' feature coverage of our story was picked up by the Boston Herald.

February 23rd's LA Times quoted University High student Cindy Gomez, who traveled to the City Council with teacher and CRC leader Andy Terranova, "I'm glad we can make a change in history.  This law is something that affects us and will affect my little brother and cousins and future generations."

Associated Press, California

Christina Hoag of the Associated Press spread the story through regional outlets and to a national stage.  She emphasized not only the diversity of the coalition--"The amendment had the support of the Los Angeles Unified school board, the police department, the juvenile courts, as well as students"--but also spoke to the emotional cost to the students when stopped by the police.  She quoted Rosa Solache, a member of the CRC's student-led Taking Action club at Roosevelt High School, describing her experience of receiving a truancy ticket for her first time being late to school: "It was embarrassing. Neighbors were staring at me like I was a criminal."

Television, KPCC 89.3, HuffPo, City Maven

The stories at KPCC 89.3, and the Huffington Post emphasized the history of the struggle against the punitive measures and the statistics that show that the majority of the tickets were being issued to African-American and Latino students, and that the high cost of the tickets was a real issue for their families.

The City Maven, which carries all the latest news from LA City Council, ran a copy of the historic motion, quoting Councilmember Tony Cardenas,"We're going from a purely punitive model to a restorative justice model."

KABC, KNBC, showed dramatic videos from the rally that energized city hall on Wednesday afternoon as the amendment to the Daytime Curfew law was debated.