Skipping School Could Come With a Court Date

Richmond starts daytime curfew

By Christie Smith
|  Tuesday, Aug 24, 2010  |  Updated 10:15 AM PDT
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Skipping School Could Come With a Court Date

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Richmond is starting a daytime curfew aimed at curbing truancy.

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Looking young could be a bad thing in the East Bay starting this week.

If you're roaming the streets of Richmond during school hours and you appear to be a minor -- you may have a run-in with police.

The city is starting a daytime curfew aimed at curbing truancy. Police say that during their last sweep in March, they netted 425 kids who were not in class when they should have been.

An estimated 100 kids cut school on any given school day. In the past, police say they would spend hours trying to find a truant student's parents and a place to put the kid if they were found wandering the streets.

Under the new plan the non-profit groups RYSE and the Richmond Police Athletic League (RPAL) will serve as drop-off centers. Enforcement is up to the officers' discretion. They could take the student back to school or they could cite them.

If they're cited, a student and parent could end up juvenile traffic court judge for a non-criminal infraction. The idea behind the citation is to tie families in with social services if they need help.

Fines could run $500, though a $50 fine or community service is more likely. The fines are expected to go to repeat offenders.

There are exceptions for kids with adults who are outside during school hours or those with specific schedules.

Richmond is in the West Contra Costa Unified School District, where classes start today. There is a 30-day grace period before the new daytime curfew crackdown rules go into effect.

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