Let me get this straight: if your child misses a little over a dozen days of school within say 90days, mom and dad may be arrested?! Sounds like something that perhaps shouldn’t be broadcast to the students themselves. Keep this on the parental down low because I can’t be the first person to immediately think—wait with rules like this there have to be some bad seeds out there cutting class with the aims of getting their folks arrested.
It’s a shame.
A new truancy court in Palm Beach, Florida is adhering to their state law that says children under 16 who miss 15 days of school within three months can be sent to jail for up to two months as punishment. (Supposedly the jail time is a last resort, but it’s a resort on the table on less.)
The Baltimore Sun reported that following a 2010 year with no arrests,
“About a dozen Baltimore parents were sent to prison for their kids’ truancy in 2011.”
But that wasn’t for lack of citations; since 2009 upward of 400 parents have gotten close to being given the behind bars boot.
California has since adopted this strict anti-truancy bill, this year, and at least five Orange County parents have already been jailed for the crime. The same is happening in Alabama, Texas, and North Carolina and other states.
Obviously parents are up in arms about this because at least sometimes, it’s probably not the parent’s fault that their child was absent, or they didn’t know about it until after the fact; and without a systematic means to verify the parent’s involvement—it makes this process rather flawed in appearances.
Some states have reported that,
“Usually when the school system files charges against parents, 14 percent of cases improve, and after parents show up for their first court appearance, about 43 percent improve their attendance.”
Do you think school systems are abusing their power? Truancy is a problem. We all go to school for a reason. (Besides it being the law, it’s important.) Jails are overcrowded everywhere, and while scare tactics can be effective, is the threat of jail time for everything under the sun really the best solution?
To learn more:
- Detention for Kids, Truancy Court for Parents (patspapers.com)
- You: Truancy laws caught 12,000 parents last year (guardian.co.uk)