Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Going To Jail Because of Truant Students?

I'm torn on this one. I mean, if parents are actually trying, and not aiding/abetting the truancy and the kid is just out of control, do we accomplish anything by locking up the parent?
About a dozen parents have been sentenced for their children's truancy this year and some have gone for jail for the crime, the Baltimore Sun's Erica Green reports...

Criminalizing parental laziness has had something of a nationwide movement lately. California's new strict anti-truancy bill took effect at the beginning of this year. Parents can serve up to a year in jail if convicted of allowing their children to skip class. Florida and Texas already have similar laws on the books. And one Michigan prosecutor wants an ordinance passed to send parents who miss parent-teacher conferences to jail for three days a pop.

On the other hand, if the parents don't seem at all concerned by all the truancy, then maybe it's ok to throw away the key.


Anonymous said...

3 days in jail for missing a P-T conference? Only ok if the prosecutor personally pays the lost wages, continuing until the parent gets a new job (assuming they were fired from their old job for missing work).

Won't happen though. Tossing a parent in jail has got to be the stupidest idea I've heard in a long time.

Single parent: Kid is now alone, with no one to look after them.

Intact family: One or both parents in jail?

There is no idea so stupid that it won't have a passionate advocate.

maxutils said...

Jailing one person for the actions of another is unconscionable.Why not take the child to jail for a night? I guarantee they go home with a different attitude. As for the conference? Parent teacher conferences are normally scheduled during the work day. If the parent cannot make it, well, make a phone call. If you need to. In my experience, 90%, or more, of kids don't need a conference. And, the remaining 10% -- the conference won't help.

Happy Elf Mom said...

The school should be held accountable for not making the place somewhere the child wants to go. I suspect issues such as bullying or unaccomodated learning disability could play a large part in why many of these children are avoiding school. Calling them truant and sending Mom to jail won't help.

For that matter, why do we have to have compulsory education? Public school works well for so many children, but we aren't all alike and maybe this young man really needs to be "de-schooled" before he can get his head on straight. Maybe he needs learning to be HIS idea. I think that should be ok. :)

Greg said...

I have to laugh at this, because I am aware of a Pennsylvania school district making such a threat against a woman whose middle school daughter missed 120 days of school in one year back in the mid-1970s. It didn't come to that -- but the daughter continued to have attendance issues until she quit school and got her GED instead.

By the way, the girl turned out OK -- she had her college degree from the liberal arts college where her mom worked by the time she was 21, eventually completed masters degrees in social work and theology, and was successful as a case worker for a local community agency, a pastor for a small rural church, and a high school speech teacher before medical issues forced her out of the classroom. And I've been blessed to be married to her for the last 15 years, too.

Ellen K said...

Here's the other side. Schools and teachers can be held responsible for injuries to students who are supposed to be under their supervision if they do not address absences with parents. It may sound like a waste of time, but we have kids and parents who simply ignore calendars, tests dates and more. It's an economic reality that we need them counted for in class. It's an educational reality that most of these absentee students will not see the success demonstrated by the gentleman above.