Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Redding - Where it's a crime to be a kid

School officials are dealing with rising truancy rates. The local police department wants to help. But all of the good intentions behind the Daytime Curfew Ordinance (passed by Redding City Council, 4-1) do not justify violating the civil liberties of our young people.

Chief Moty assured Council Members that his officers will ONLY be looking for “habitual truants” and getting them back into school.

Why, then, offer up an ordinance that criminalizes ALL young people?

You can drag a teenager to school, you can handcuff him to a desk. But you can’t call it education. And while the ordinance may net local school districts a few more ADA dollars, the kids who value their education will now share their classrooms with hostile teens who would rather be elsewhere. Teachers will be stuck dealing with discipline issues.

Can we look forward to escalating school violence, now that police will be rounding up habitual truants and dragging their butts to school?

The schools have failed to engage their at-risk students. Instead of creating innovative programs that encourage and motivate their students to stay in school, they throw up their hands and call in the Big Guns.

It’s heartbreaking to me that more citizens – government watchdogs, constitutional experts, etc… -- did not come forward to speak up for our city’s young people.

The City Council has promised to revisit the issue in six months. I will be there.


Kelly Brewer said...

I will be there with you.

Anonymous said...

Well said, Erin. What's the old saying? "The road to heck" is lined with them?
Take it from a (very) old class cutter, you don't want my kind in your classroom anyway.

Dugan Barr said...

This is just another example of politicians using the coercive power of the police to attempt to deal with social problems. Do kids need an education? You bet. More than ever in our increasingly complex society. Can you force it on them? Not outside of boot camp, and maybe even not there. Our schools are not, thank God, boot camp. Thanks for the "heads up", Erin.