11 p.m. Update: The Concord City Council tonight voted in favor of a daytime curfew. Concord's new curfew could be in place for the start of school in the fall.
Truancy sweeps in Concord this year have netted 200 students. Students skipping class have caused vandalism, car and home break-ins and if students aren't in class, it costs school districts like Mt. Diablo, a lot of money in state aid.
One of the areas where students hang out is Todos Santos Plaza in Downtown Concord. It's fine now because school is out, but not during the school year. Under the proposed daytime curfew, students not in class would first get a warning. After that fines would jump to $100, $200 and then $500. Parents would get the same fines if they knowingly let their children skip class.
"This is not funds that will create any windfalls to the city or pay for any programs, we're trying to instill a message in the parents and students that the law says you are to be in school and that's important. We want you to get a good education and avail yourself of those education opportunities so you can be a productive person in your career or in college in the future," said Concord Mayor Laura Hoffmeister.
There are exceptions to the proposed day time curfew during school hours. Children are OK if they are accompanied by a parent. They can be running an errand for their parents. It's OK if the student is going to work. There are some jobs students do for credit. Another exception is for emergencies.
Other Bay Area cities have daytime curfews during the school year and they report a reduction in truancy: Pittsburg, Benicia, El Cerrito and Richmond. In Concord the curfew would apply to students from outside the city who get caught in Concord.