The San Ramon City Council delayed its decision on changing its truant student policy at its meeting Tuesday.
The proposed ordinance would allow San Ramon police officers to fine students for being truant from school. After a warning, truant students would receive a fine of $100 and subsequent violations could result in a fine of up to $500.
Currently, officers return truant students to the school without any financial punishment.
Though councilmembers Scott Perkins, Dave Hudson and Jim Livingstone said they believed it was a good idea, the council wanted to hear the thoughts of the San Ramon Valley Unified School District Board of Education before making a final decision. The school board also discussed the Tuesday and .
There are a number of exceptions to the ordinance. Students that are in private schools, accompanied by a guardian, reacting to an emergency and working are a couple of the reasons that would exempt students. Lt. Dan Pratt presented the issue to the council and emphasized he didn't believe the ordinance will make a significant difference in enforcement.
"I don't anticipate enforcement to change from what has already been going on," Pratt said. "This only clarifies what has already been the law for years."
In public comment, Erica Porter, who has two sons in private school, said she was concerned about the unintended consequences of the policy change.
"I don't want my sons to be fearful they're going to be approached by a police officer when they're around town on one of their days off," Porter said. "I don't think there needs to be anymore regulation."
Later in the meeting, councilman Jim Livingstone said he hoped kids wouldn't be afraid of officers and wouldn't mind speaking with them.
Councilman Philip O'Loane questioned if truancy was a significant problem in the district. He said he wanted more statistics on truancy in the SRVUSD before making a decision.
, Contra Costa District Attorney Mark Peterson said the ordinance is part of the DA's effort to prevent crimes before they happen.
He said 60 percent of crimes by juveniles happen between school hours in Contra Costa County, but didn't specify about the percentage of juvenile crimes in San Ramon.
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