Fresno Truancy Crackdown

September 12, 2008 12:00:00 AM PDT
Several Fresno Unified Students late to class this morning got a wake-up call from the Police Department.Students gave officers plenty of excuses, from they "woke up late" to they were "making a pit stop" along the route. Regardless of their reason they were promptly returned to class.

Just 15 minutes after the operation began, 8 students were given an extra incentive to get to class. A ride from police to make sure they got there. "They didn't realize that officers were going to stop them. Make sure that they were getting back to school. So they were surprised," said Mark Hudson with the Fresno Police Department.

Fresno Police said the teenagers were clearly not where they were supposed to be when they were contacted. "A lot of them were picked up eating cheese it's or flaming hot Cheetos."

Officers listened to one excuse after another from junior high and high school students.

An increase in property crime in southeast Fresno prompted the crackdown. Fresno Police said if students are on task and in school, they can be eliminated as suspects. "We don't need them out on the street. Because we've seen that there's problems associated with that and we want them in class."

Police issued warnings to students in what they call a reprimand and release. School officials will decide, what punishment, if any the student should receive for skipping class.

District leaders hope students recognize why they should be learning instead of wandering around. "What we want students to realize is. Just like coming to work, school is their job. It is their work and they need to be there present and on time every day. That's an important thing," said Pete Summers with the Fresno Unified School District.

Police and school leaders said truancy is a community issue and everyone, including parents must reinforce the importance of getting to class every day.

19 students were contacted today both by plainclothes and uniformed officers. 12 of those students were from either Cambridge or Roosevelt High School. The truancy operation will continue randomly throughout the year, especially if crime trends increase in the area.



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