BAGUIO CITY – The City Council approved on first reading a proposed ordinance prohibiting truancy in the city.
The ordinance authored by Councilor Joel Alangsab stated the local legislative measure aims to protect the interest of the students; help the students to be more responsible and productive by attending classes regularly and prevent them from lingering outside school campus where they are susceptible to street crimes and other forms of danger; assure parents of students that their children are safe in schools, regularly attending their classes and school activities; control and prevent juvenile delinquency and impose sanctions for truants, commercial establishments, parents, school administrators and teachers who violate the provisions of the measure.
Under the provisions of the ordinance, truants are students who are absent from school without valid cause or any school-related activities.
The ordinance added it shall be unlawful for a student to loiter, linger or stay in a public place or business establishment during school hours; it shall be unlawful for dropouts and out-of-school youth to loiter, linger or stay in a public place or business establishment within 100 meters radius from any school during school hours considering their influence to in-school students; it shall be unlawful for a parent or guardian to knowingly permit, or by insufficient control allow, the student to loiter, linger or stay in any business establishment or place within the city during school hours; it shall be unlawful for teachers and school authorities to knowingly permit or by insufficient control allow, the student to loiter, linger or stay in any business establishment within the city during school hours and as for operators of business establishments or amusement areas to knowingly or by insufficient control allow, students to loiter, linger or stay in their establishments or place within the city during school hours.
Among the exempted acts include when the student is on board a motor vehicle on his or her way home; when the student leaves the school for emergency purposes with a written authorization from his parents or guardian noted by the school authorities; when the student is going for a medical appointment with a written authorization from his or her teacher or accompanied by his or her parent or guardian; when the student is permitted by the school to leave the campus for some school-related activities and has in his or her possession a valid school issued of campus permit and when the student is accompanied by his parent or guardian or teacher or any school official.
Students, dropouts and out-of-school-youth found violating the ordinance shall be penalized by being brought to the barangay council for the protection of children for turnover to their parents. For parents and guardians, the penalty shall be attendance in parenting education seminar for the first offense, a fine of P1,000 for the second offense or be required to render community service for 16 hours at the discretion of the court and subsequent offenses would mean a fine of P3,000 or community service for 32 hours at the discretion of the court. For any teacher or school official, the penalty shall be a warning for the first offense, a fine of P1,000 for the second offense and a fine of P3,000 for subsequent offenses without prejudice to any possible administrative case.
By Dexter A. See