4,328 students were ticketed by the school police for being truant or late to school in 2008. An average of 24 students per day. The cost of the infraction for being absent is $250 the first time, and it can increase if you reoffend. In the last school year the LASPD obtained more than $1 million.
According to the Labor/Community Strategy Center, around 12,000 students were fined in Los Angeles County during 2008. Such fines can also be issued by the Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD) and the Sheriff department.
$1 million dollars revenue, is this a deficit neutral effort, or, does it generate income?
From the ‘criminals’:
A student from Manual Arts High School, who asked to be identified as “Mike J,” says that many times it is not his fault when he is late to school because sometimes the bus is late.
“Many times we prefer to go back home instead of getting ticketed by the police who stand in front of the school waiting for us,” he said.
Edith Honorato, a student at Roosevelt High School, recently wrote in her school paper, “Am I a criminal for being late to school?”
Criminalize kids early and often? What’s next? Truancy – the new gateway crime?
While this effort may generate short term statistical ‘success’, it is a jaw droopingly wrong headed, counter-productive way to treat kids.