2014-03-10T235917Z_1_CBREA291UN000_RTROPTP_2_USA

California lawmakers take aim at elementary school truancy

Attorney General Harris speaks at the 2014 California Democrats State Convention at the Los Angeles Convention Center in Los AngelesBy Sharon Bernstein SACRAMENTO, California (Reuters) – California lawmakers took aim Monday at truancy among elementary school children with a package of bills that would help families bring their kids to school and keep them there, but it would not remove the threat of arrest if they refuse to comply. The bills were developed in the wake of a report by Attorney General Kamala Harris, showing that an estimated 250,000 elementary age children miss 10 percent or more of each school year in the most populous U.S. state. “As the chief law enforcement officer of the state, I’ve decided to make this a priority, because it is the law of California” that children attend school, said Harris, who sponsored the legislation. California passed a law in 2005 allowing parents of young children who are chronically absent to be charged in court or sent to a diversion program, joining dozens of states that have passed measures in recent years aimed at curbing truancy, according to the Education Commission of the States policy database.

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