Kamala Harris Defends Controversial Truancy Initiative In Newly Resurfaced Video

A 2010 video of now-Sen. Kamala Harris (D-Calif.) boasting about her truancy platform whereas she was the district legal professional of San Francisco has resurfaced and gone viral on Twitter.

The video, posted by journalist Walker Bragman on Monday, options Harris, on the time the state’s legal professional basic, delivering a speech on the Commonwealth Membership in San Francisco. In it she defends her resolution to take punitive measures in opposition to the mother and father of truant kids within the metropolis, regardless of controversy surrounding the plan.

“I consider a toddler going with out an training is tantamount to a criminal offense,” Harris says within the video. “So I made a decision I used to be going to begin prosecuting mother and father for truancy.”

She describes an occasion during which she charged a homeless lady who was working two jobs to maintain her three kids.

“She simply wanted some assist,” Harris mentioned. So the girl was charged.

“By shining this infrared highlight of public security on the truth that her kids aren’t in class, we had been in a position to determine that out, get her entry to providers that exist, and thru that course of, the attendance of her kids improved. We dismissed the costs in opposition to her, and total we’ve improved attendance for this inhabitants in SF by 20 % during the last two years.”

Within the speech, Harris laughs about sending her workplace’s murder and gang prosecutors into San Francisco colleges to satisfy with mother and father and directors who had been discussing truant college students.

“Whenever you go over there, look actually imply,” she mentioned she would inform them.

In Bragman’s thread, he identified that Harris’ speech was a stump speech for her 2010 re-election marketing campaign for legal professional basic. In one other video, from November 2009, she delivers the identical speech.

Harris, who introduced her 2020 presidential bid on Jan. 21, has begun to face criticism for her actions as a prosecutor, together with the truancy initiative. Its critics identified that it predominantly affected poor communities and communities of coloration.

“She believed a crucial approach to maintain youngsters out of jail once they’re older is to maintain them in class once they’re younger,” a marketing campaign spokesperson advised HuffPost on Tuesday.

Harris’ marketing campaign pointed to the social service side of the initiative, saying that arrests and different interactions with the felony justice system had been minimal and that the initiative pressured colleges to work extra intently with mother and father of struggling kids ― and help these mother and father too.

(When Harris was legal professional basic, a number of mother and father had been arrested for his or her youngsters’ persistent truancy.)

In a city corridor on CNN on Monday, she defended her felony justice background.

Requested about her “contradictory” profession as a prosecutor, she mentioned, “I’ve been constant my entire profession.” 

“My profession has been based mostly on an understanding that, one, as a prosecutor, my obligation was to hunt and ensure that essentially the most weak and unvoiced amongst us are protected. … I’ve additionally labored my entire profession to reform the felony justice system, understanding, to your level, that it’s deeply flawed.”