Los Angeles is easing its stance on truancy. For the past decade, a tough city ordinance slapped huge fines on students for even one instance of skipping school or being late, but the Los Angeles City Council is changing that law to focus on helping students get to class because it turns out those harsh fines were backfiring.
Two years ago, Nabil Romero, a young Angeleno with a thin black mustache, was running late to his first period at a public high school on LA's Westside.
Romero had to pay a $350 truancy fine — a lot in a single-parent home like his.
"When my mom heard the fine, she was like, 'Oh, we're gong to have to cut back on a lot of stuff,' and we started cutting back on food expenses, clothes expenses, shoes," he recalls. "And this was all my fault."