I have four officers here at the Southwest Patrol Division who go out every day and work truants from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. If kids are ditching school, what are they going to be up to? The concern I have as a division commander is, number one, if they’re out of school they should be in school, but some of them will be committing offenses. If these students are out here committing burglaries or breaking into cars, by the officers going and taking them into custody and taking them back to school, it lessens the opportunity for them to commit offenses. With a curfew in place, now we’re talking about fines. It would be a city ordinance with a fine up to $500, just like if I give you a ticket for running a red light. I realize that would place a burden on the families of the student who gets this citation because the parents are accountable; just like the curfew at night, they are required to appear with the child, and the judge takes whatever action he or she deems necessary. But I would hope with this ordinance that they would be more invested in ensuring that their son or daughter is in school and remains in school. It’s aimed at the student, who’s saying, “I got caught, I got a ticket, and the ticket’s going to cost mom or dad $500,” and the parent is saying, “Now what am I going to do to keep little Johnnie or little Elizabeth in school?”
Click to sign up for the Advocate's weekly news digest and be the first to know what’s happening in Oak Cliff.