Riverside county cracks down on truancy in a joint effort with the local school districts. It is a requirement that children go to school. Truancy is when a child is absent from school without a valid reason or excuse. A child cannot miss school simply because he or she does not want to go. To be fair, most children do not want to go to school. It is up to the parents to ensure that their children make it to school and are not absent. In California, 250,000 children are labeled “chronically absent.”
While the laws have been in existence, the local authorities have not been cracking down on them. The newly elected Riverside County District Attorney, Mike Hestrin, has vowed to change that. He, with the help of local police agencies and school districts, will be enforcing the laws.
But what does that mean for you? This means that the parents will now be arrested and charged with misdemeanor crimes. The two main truancy laws are Penal Code 270.1 “failure to reasonably supervise or encourage school attendance” and Penal Code 272 “contributing to the delinquency of a minor”. Both charges carry a term of up to 1 year in county jail and fines of $2000 and $2500 respectively.
The goal of these statutes and the enforcement thereof is to encourage children to stay engaged in activities and education that will keep them off the streets and, ideally, out of the juvenile justice system. It is important that children are encouraged to actively participate in the school system and learn the importance of education and skills taught there.