MONTEREY PARK – Under a new state law, parents and guardians of Los Angeles Unified students convicted of gang-related crimes will have to attend parenting classes and meet with families who have been victimized by gang violence, the bill’s author said today.

The Parental Accountability Act – Assembly Bill 1291 – was authored by Assemblyman Tony Mendoza, D-Norwalk.

“The time has come to hold parents accountable and give them the resources they need to help their children,” Mendoza said.

“It’s clear parents and guardians have serious challenges addressing the disciplinary needs of their children,” Mendoza said. “Parents will be mandated to acknowledge the consequences of their children’s potential involvement with gangs, before it’s too late.”

Mendoza introduced the bill in 2007, and the law went into effect in January.

Under the law, parents or guardians of juveniles who have been involved in gang-related crimes must attend anti-gang parenting classes with specialized curricula that include face-to-face meetings with victims’ families, resources and ideas on extracurricular activities, and information on identifying criminal tendencies in their children, Mendoza said.

Mendoza discussed the law at a news conference this morning at the Edmund D. Edelman Children’s Court. Among those in attendance were Los Angeles County Sheriff Lee Baca and actor Edward James Olmos.

The program is starting at LAUSD, but is to be expanded to school districts statewide as funds become available, said Mendoza spokeswoman Patricia Gonzalez-Portillo.