Sen. Kamala Harris, D-Calif., expressed regret for the unintended consequences of a state truancy law she pushed as San Francisco district attorney in a Pod Save America interview.
The law, which made it a crime for parents to allow children to miss too many days of school, resulted in the arrest and jailing of some parents, The Hill pointed out.
The Democratic presidential candidate, however, said those cases were not in her jurisdiction and "When I was [San Francisco] DA, we never sent a parent to jail."
She said the point of her initiative was to prevent elementary school children from missing large chunks of the school year, which would then lead to them failing to learn how to read properly, stunt their ability to succeed and often times pave the way to a life of crime, which also harmed society
"We ended up increasing attendance by over 30 percent, because we actually required the system then to kick in and do the services that they were required to do and sometimes had available, but they weren't doing the outreach with these parents," Harris said. "And so that was the whole purpose.”
She expressed concerns jailing parents could make worse the same social problems the policy was meant to fight against, saying "I wanted to avoid a situation where those children end up being criminalized . . . because we failed them in the earliest stages."
"My regret is that I have now heard stories where in some jurisdictions, DAs have criminalized the parents," she said. "And I regret that that has happened and the thought that anything that I did could have led to that, because that certainly was not the intention."
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