Starting today, playing hooky in Philadelphia is getting more expensive, says the Philadelphia Inquirer. The City Council yesterday unanimously passed an ordinance that would slap a $25 fine on the parents of school-age children found wandering the city between 9 a.m. and 1 p.m. on school days. The measure – endorsed by the school district and the Police Department – gives any law-enforcement officer the authority to obtain the name, age, and address of the youth caught skipping school and of his or her parent or legal guardian. The officer will then issue a violation to the truant child, and a notice will be mailed to the household.
Violation of the daytime curfew would be a summary offense. Parents of repeat violators would face $300 fines. On any given day, 7,500 of the school district’s 167,000 students are truant. Across the country, daytime curfews are becoming more popular, in large cities and in suburbs. Dallas is considering a curfew. Elsewhere, home-school families have opposed curfew legislation. Under Pennsylvania law, parents of chronic truants can be fined up to $300, plus court costs. They could be sent to jail for up to five days and required to perform up to six months’ community service, and could risk losing custody of their child.