Friday, January 15, 2010

Cops Will Soon Pick Up Truant Kids, Drive Them To Referral Center. Just Don't Call It 'An Arrest.'

Posted By on Fri, Jan 15, 2010 at 4:11 PM

click to enlarge WHACK! BACKLASH FOR TRUANT KIDS A'COMIN
  • Whack! Backlash for truant kids a'comin

Kids cutting class to wander around the city will soon face a new hurdle: the police. Mayor Gavin Newsom announced today that the cops will soon be picking up kids playing hooky and dropping them off at a new referral center, where students will be bombarded with services to get them to go to school.

The center, to be opened in February or March, will be called the Truancy Assessment and Referral Center or -- as if the city needed one more acronym -- TARC. Whereas San Jose police drop kids off at a similar drop-off center in that city in handcuffs, the San Francisco police will not be cuffing kids, nor charging them with anything, and the pick-up is not considered an arrest. But it sure could play one on TV; cops will be driving the students in squad cars to the TARC location at 44 Gough Street. (When this reporter made the mistake of calling the pick-up "an arrest" while posing a question, half the city's leadership blurted out, "It's not an arrest!")

"This is an effort to go from 30 miles an hour to 100 miles an hour in terms of what we've done in the past," says Newsom, who has often made personal visits and phone calls to the homes of truant students, even rousing one student from bed after the mom gave him permission. He no longer calls parents, he says, after attorneys advised him it's a breach of confidentiality for him to possess the names and phone numbers of chronically truant students.

At a stern moment in an otherwise celebratory press conference, Newsom

answered a reporter's question of whether the children will be reported

to immigration authorities. "None. Zero. We made sure that's the case,"

he said.  

Police Chief George Gascon told the SF Weekly that

officers will be looking for truant kids while working their

regular beats, and will respond to calls from merchants, neighbors, or

even frustrated mothers to come pick up kids. Officers will talk to youthful-looking folks to find out if they are school-age or not. If so, it's off to TARC for them.

The new practice comes after District

Attorney Kamala Harris began prosecuting chronically truant students -- and their parents -- in truancy court. Yet San Francisco's public schools still reported 4,839 chronic and habitual truants last school year.

City officials hope that this efforts to combat truancy will ultimately

lead to fewer drop-outs -- also a chronic problem. Last year, 32 percent of black students, 19 percent of whites, and 19 percent of Latinos didn't

graduate from San Francisco public high schools.

The sound bite

of the press conference went to Juvenile Probation Chief William

Sifferman, saying he wanted the program to succeed so he would see fewer kids at juvenile hall. "We want a-ttention, not de-tention," he said.

You can't get arrested for making jokes like that either, fortunately.

  • Pin It

Tags: , , , , , ,

About The Author

Lauren Smiley

Comments

Subscribe to this thread:

Add a comment

Popular Stories

  1. Most Popular Stories
  2. Stories You Missed

Like us on Facebook

Slideshows

  • Nevada City and the South Yuba River: A gold country getaway

    Nestled in the green pine-covered hills of the Northern Sierra Nevada is the Gold Rush town of Nevada City. Beautiful Victorian houses line the streets, keeping the old-time charm alive, and a vibrant downtown is home to world-class art, theater and music. The nearby South Yuba River State Park is known for its emerald swimming holes during the summer and radiant leaf colors during autumn. These days the gold panning is more for tourists than prospectors, but the gold miner spirit is still in the air.

    South Yuba River State Park and Swimming Holes:
    The park runs along and below 20 miles of the South Yuba River, offering hiking, mountain biking, gold panning and swimming. The Highway 49 bridge swimming hole is seven-miles northwest of Nevada City where Highway 49 crosses the South Yuba River. Parking is readily available and it is a short, steep hike to a stunning swimming hole beneath a footbridge. For the more intrepid, trails extend along the river with access to secluded swim spots. The Bridgeport swimming hole has calm waters and a sandy beach -- good for families and cookouts -- and is located 14 miles northwest of Nevada City. Be sure to write down directions before heading out, GPS may not be available. Most swimming holes on the South Yuba River are best from July to September, while winter and spring can bring dangerous rapids. Always know the current before jumping in!

    Downtown Nevada City
    The welcoming, walkable downtown of Nevada City is laid back, yet full of life. Start your day at the cozy South Pine Cafe (110 S Pine St.) with a lobster benedict or a spicy Jamaican tofu scramble. Then stroll the streets and stop into the shop Kitkitdizzi (423 Broad St.) for handcrafted goods unique to the region, vintage wears and local art “all with California gold rush swagger,” as stated by owners Carrie Hawthorne and Kira Westly. Surrounded by Gold Rush history, modern gold jewelry is made from locally found nuggets and is found at Utopian Stone Custom Jewelers (301 Broad St.). For a coffee shop with Victorian charm try The Curly Wolf (217 Broad St.), an espresso house and music venue with German pastries and light fare. A perfect way to cool down during the hot summer months can be found at Treats (110 York St.) , an artisan ice cream shop with flavors like pear ginger sorbet or vegan chai coconut. Nightlife is aplenty with music halls, alehouses or dive bars like the Mine Shaft Saloon (222 Broad St.).

    The Willo Steakhouse (16898 State Hwy 49, Nevada City)
    Along Highway 49, just west of Nevada City, is The Willo, a classic roadhouse and bar where you’re welcomed by the smell of steak and a dining room full of locals. In 1947 a Quonset hut (a semi-cylindrical building) was purchased from the US Army and transported to its current location, and opened as a bar, which became popular with lumberjacks and miners. The bar was passed down through the decades and a covered structure was added to enlarge the bar and create a dining area. The original Quonset beams are still visible in the bar and current owners Mike Byrne and Nancy Wilson keep the roadhouse tradition going with carefully aged New York steaks and house made ingredients. Pair your steak or fish with a local wine, such as the Rough and Ready Red, or bring your own for a small corkage fee. Check the website for specials, such as rib-eye on Fridays.

    Outside Inn (575 E Broad St.)
    A 16-room motel a short walk from downtown, each room features a unique décor, such as the Paddlers’ Suite or the Wildflower Room. A friendly staff and an office full of information about local trails, swimming and biking gets you started on your outdoor exploration. Amenities include an outdoor shower, a summer swimming pool and picnic tables and barbeques. Don’t miss the free vegetable cart just outside the motel in the mornings.

    Written and photographed by Beth LaBerge for the SF Weekly.

  • Arcade Fire at Shoreline
    Arcade Fire opened their US tour at Shoreline Amphitheater to a full house who was there in support of their album "Reflector," which was released last fall. Dan Deacon opened the show to a happily surprised early audience and got the crowd actively dancing and warmed up. DEVO was originally on the bill to support Arcade Fire but a kayak accident last week had sidelined lead singer Mark Mothersbaugh and the duration of the west coast leg of the tour. Win Butler did a homage to DEVO by performing Uncontrollable Urge.