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Massachusetts

December 11, 2003

House Bill 1825: Authorizing Police to Arrest Truants

Sponsor:
Representative Peter J. Larkin (D), Third Berkshire District.

Summary:
While this bill would authorize police officers to "apprehend and take to school without a warrant any truant or absentee found wandering in the streets or public places," HB 1825 requires the police department to communicate with the school district to verify whether a student is truant on any particular day. This should protect homeschoolers.

Status:
01/01/2003 Introduced.
01/01/2003 To Joint Committee on Education, Art and Humanities.
10/28/2003 In JOINT Committee on EDUCATION, ARTS AND HUMANITIES: Heard. Eligible for Executive Session.

Action Requested:
None at this time.

Background
Several Massachusetts towns (chiefly Springfield) have been trying to implement daytime curfews for years. House Bill 1825 is a step in that direction, because it authorizes police officers to "pick up" any child found wandering in the streets as long as a police officer has "reason to believe that said student is truant." Taken to its logical extreme, this bill would force homeschoolers to carry identification cards or stay indoors during public school hours.

HSLDA originally objected to this bill because it allowed a police officer to pick up a student if the police officer had "reason to believe that said student is truant." As the bill now stands, each school must communicate with police on a daily basis to determine who is truant on that particular day. This appears to address our objections.

HSLDA's Position:
Neutral. This bill has been amended to protect homeschoolers.

 Other Resources

Bill Text

Bill History