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A 2010 video clip of California senator and presidential hopeful Kamala Harris advocating the prosecution of parents for their children's truancy has re-ignited controversy as schools statewide face greater scrutiny for their rates of chronic absenteeism.
A slew of new laws affecting students’ physical, emotional and behavioral wellbeing will change how schools operate this year, in ways large and small. The laws regulate basic needs grants for truant students, pesticide use and expulsions for "willfully defiant" behavior, among other issues.
Hayward school officials, police, businesses and churches are taking a gentle approach to reducing high truancy rates among students. Merchants are refusing to serve school-aged youths during school hours, and if students persist, police take them back to school to get them help staying in class.
Legislation that would make it easier for the state and school districts to track chronic absenteeism, an early indicator of students at risk of dropping out, will soon reach Gov. Jerry Brown, where it faces an uncertain fate.