Debate time! Should parents face fines/jail if their kids are truant?

Discussion in 'Debate & Marathon Threads Archive' started by Caesar753, Jun 12, 2014.

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  1. Caesar753

    Caesar753 Multitudinous

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    Ready, set, go!
     
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  3. gr3teacher

    gr3teacher Phenom

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    I'd say yes, with a lot of conditions to help ensure that it is the parent's fault.
     
  4. Caesar753

    Caesar753 Multitudinous

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    What sorts of conditions?
     
  5. gr3teacher

    gr3teacher Phenom

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    For starters, I'd consider truancy to be much more the fault of parents at the elementary level than secondary level. Medical issues have to be considered. Family issues should at least be considered also... example: one young lady in my room will probably lose her father this summer, due to him losing a long battle with leukemia, while mom works as a flight attendant. Dad is largely living in Philadelphia for a Hail Mary attempt to save his life, and grandma is more or less raising the child. If the student were missing days to visit dad, or missing days because grandma just can't get her to go to school, I wouldn't want consider it appropriate for anyone to be fined or jailed.
     
  6. Caesar753

    Caesar753 Multitudinous

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    So are you saying that parents of truant high schoolers should not face fines or jail time?
     
  7. gr3teacher

    gr3teacher Phenom

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    No, I'm saying that I'd hold parents much more personally accountable with elementary kids. I think the standard for proving parents were responsible would have to be higher with high school students.
     
  8. Caesar753

    Caesar753 Multitudinous

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    What sort of proof do you have in mind?
     
  9. 4815162342

    4815162342 Companion

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    Age has a lot to do with it, but for middle/high schoolers, I'd probably be more inclined to just say the student should get the "jail" time (obviously not real jail because of the age thing, but juvy or a state school or something?)
    I've seen parents who try to make kids do one thing or another, in this case we're talking go to school, but some of these frequently truant students aren't going to listen to a thing their parent has to say. And if the the parent is clear from the law otherwise, why should they be punished.
    Really, in my mind while I'm typing this, I just picture gang related type students who are getting in trouble. So I don't know, maybe I'm not educated in the pros and cons of both sides to really make a valid argument.
     
  10. gr3teacher

    gr3teacher Phenom

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    Paper trail, etc.

    If a third grader misses school, an adult of some sort definitely knows about it. If a tenth grader misses school, parents might know, parents might not.
     
  11. TnKinder

    TnKinder Companion

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    Truancy

    We do this here. When a student has 5 unexcussed absences, the parent has to come to a meeting with the P or AP to explain why. The meeting in mandatory and if parents don't show they can be referred to the DA's office. If they do show they are made aware of the attendance rules, and some bring in excuses. Usually after the third meeting or 15 unexcussed absences the parent is referred to the DA. Last year, I had a student who could not be absent without the courts approval. If the child had to go to the doctor or was sick, the parent had to call a social worker to get permission in advanced. If the child was absent and there was no call in advanced the secretary had to report it, at which point the parent could be arrested.
     
  12. swansong1

    swansong1 Virtuoso

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    Agreed.
     
  13. 2ndTimeAround

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    My sister in law was threatened with jail time because her 14 year old kept skipping school. SIL was a single mother whose husband left her for another woman when their baby was an infant. Deadbeat dad never paid child support and managed to skip town with no paper trail. SIL couldn't pay all the bills with her full-time job (we often paid electricity and bought groceries). When the truant officer told her she would have to make the child attend our go to jail I literally laughed. How exactly would she do that? SIL would drive niece to school, watch her walk in the front door but not see niece immediately walk out the back door. There was no physical way that the mother could make the child attend.
     
  14. 3Sons

    3Sons Enthusiast

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    No.

    My gut feel is that administering and enforcing these fines would cost more than they'd bring in, and they wouldn't end up with positive results anyway.

    That said, it is a gut feel and I'd be open to being convinced otherwise.
     
  15. a2z

    a2z Virtuoso

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    My godparents DD was starting with mental illness (and they were trying to get her help) about the time she got into high school. It got to the point where my godparents would have to drive her to the school and walk her to the office and drop her off. She would the walk out the side door. The school was going after my godparents for her truancy because she would slip out before homeroom so, even though the office staff saw her, she was never recorded as in attendance.

    It was a nightmare. Between the issues the girl was having and the pressure the school was putting on my godparents to ensure she would stay in school it was awful. The school threatened to press charges for truancy against my godparents.

    So, I agree with you. It is important to determine why the truancy is happening.
     
  16. Reality Check

    Reality Check Habitué

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    This question is a REAL slippery slope!

    I've had quite a few cases over the years where there is a single parent (who has to work during the day) - and they've done everything that can reasonably be expected of them - and their kid has still cut school.

    One woman walked her daughter right up to the front door every morning and the daughter just ducked out a back door and left for the day.

    Another student was cutting school because he wanted to be enrolled in "cyber-school," but his mother knew he would just waste the days away at home. A judge threatened to throw the mother in jail if the boy missed any more days, but all that seemed to do was give the kid leverage; "Either enroll me in 'cyber-school' or I'll cut and you'll go to jail." She wound up enrolling him in it......how it turned out, I don't know.

    It's not as cut-and-dried as many people may think.


    :dizzy:
     
  17. KinderCowgirl

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    I'm torn on this. I think after a certain age it should be the student who is held accountable.

    My best friend in high school got pregnant in 9th Grade and decided to stop going to school regularly. Mom was getting fines daily. She convinced her mother that if she let her get married (had to have mom's permission because she was under 16) she would finish out the school year. Mom agreed. She didn't go to school again. So her mom was continually getting fined for a child that didn't even live under her roof anymore and that she obviously didn't have any control over.

    I think there's only so much a parent can do after they reach a certain age. There are a lot of other factors today that they have to contend with as parents.
     
  18. a2z

    a2z Virtuoso

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    Most of the time our district works hard to help families figure out how to get the kids to school. The caveat is when the child is suffering from anxiety or other mental issues that cause the child to not want to step foot in the school and the parent is asking for help from the special education department. Then they start threatening to press charges. Ugh.

    Otherwise, the district works hard to get social services involved to find a solution to the issues. They feel working together works better than working against and most truant kids need family or other support. They have been rather successful. Now, most times the services are budgeted outside of the system which is probably why there is such a difference between the student that needs school-based services and the family that needs county/state services.
     
  19. HistoryVA

    HistoryVA Devotee

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    Yes, until a certain age (maybe 8th-9th grade) and then send the kid to juvie.
     
  20. YoungTeacherGuy

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    I can't speak for other states, but I'll tell you how it works in CA.

    Step 1: After x amount of tardies/absences, parents are scheduled to meet with the VP/P to discuss the reason(s) for the chronic poor attendance issues. In most districts, this is called SART (Student Attendance Review Team).

    Step 2: If the parents don't show up to the SART meeting and/or if the tardies or absences increase, they'll be referred to SARB (Student Attendance Review Board). In my district, the SARB committee consists of the Director of Pupil Services, a rep from CPS, a police officer, site VP/P, and the parents.

    The SARB committee finds out why the child continues to arrive late and/or not come to school each day.

    If we (the SARB team) find that the parent is being neglectful (for example, if they say something along the lines of, "I can't get myself out of bed in the morning to get Johnny ready in the morning!" we can refer the case to the DA's office).

    This year, we had a parent arrested for not sending her child to school. She was so strung out on drugs that walking her son to school was the last thing on her mind. She ended up getting arrested and the child was placed in foster care.

    I'm not sure how this process works in the middle schools and high schools. At my site (a K-5 school), I firmly believe that the parent is responsible for ascertaining that their child is at school on time each and every day (unless s/he is ill, of course).
     
  21. Linguist92021

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    We have a LOT of students absent, and often. Because this is a court / community school, they only get dropped if they are absent 5 consecutive days, but overall they can miss a lot more, as far as I know. (once we drop a student, they have very few options).
    I wouldn't put their parents in jail. Most of the time there is only one parent, or the grandma / aunt, etc. has legal guardianship, and they have to deal with a lot of other things besides taking on this 1 additional child. Often the parent is working 2-3 jobs, or just for whatever reason they can't supervise the kids and make sure they make it to school.
    These kids often walk 5-10 miles to school.
    Put the parents in jail? No. The student should face the consequences, although sometimes they don't care.
    If they're on probation, they could get locked up for missing school, although probation does go to their house, drag them out of their bed and bring them to school.
     
  22. FourSquare

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    K-5? Absolutely.

    6-12? Take the kid to jail.

    I have a kid who's been tardy or absent 30+ days this year. I wish every day the cops would come take him away just to scare him. He admits to just sleeping in and never showing up.
     
  23. TnKinder

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    In my city it's K-12. And I can see why middle and high school parents would have a more difficult time making sure their children not only go to school, but stay and attend all classes everyday. One thing that is done is that parents are notified through a call system if a student is absent from any classes. But the jail time is still a real possibility for those parents whose students are chronically absent or tardy.
    One parent went so far as to call the cops on her kids to make them get up for school. She was told one more absence and she would be locked up. She called the cops on her kids because she didn't want to go to jail because her kids refused to stay in school.
     
  24. otterpop

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    :agreed:

    I mostly agree with this, but could see situations where a child was being prevented from attending school for reasons caused by parents, i.e. babysitting siblings or feeling a need to have a job to help a parent pay bills.
     
  25. John Lee

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    When they start fining/jailing fat people who eat wrong &/or never exercise (who end up being a drain on the medical system), then we can start fining parents for this kind of stuff.

    Someone in another thread was questioning whether schools should accomodate teachers with health issues... and this is related. I may be coming off as harsh, but it is to make a point. There are certainly teachers who have legitimate health issues, brought on by no fault of their own. But OTOH, there are PLENTLY, who just completely neglect their personal health, and who have continual health problems. This is the same thing.

    You can't fine for ignorance.
     
  26. i8myhomework

    i8myhomework Comrade

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    No, because how would jail help the situation?
     
  27. PrincessDaisy

    PrincessDaisy Rookie

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    How would it not be the parents fault? :confused: I love how teachers get the blame for every thing in society, and teachers actually stick up for BAD parents. :help:


    Seriously, I'm starting to think more and more every day we're just going have a system where a lady gives birth and they do all the hospital stuff and the ones who don't need extra time in the hospital, are going to be shipped off to "school". We'll sign contracts that were the first and only people the child is interacting with and everything is our, the teacher, fault. We can stay there until they go to sleep and feed them dinner.
     
  28. PrincessDaisy

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    How do the parents not know? Don't the schools call? The high schools in NJ do. If you miss any period, baring it's not a trip or something that the school knows of advance, the parents get a phone call.
     
  29. bros

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    Truant parents need to be punished somehow - I know in my town, after they exceed a certain number of excused absences and attempts to contact the parent are unsuccessful, the school district files a complaint with the town court, who will on occasion have to get the parents to come through use of a subpeona
     
  30. otterpop

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    The way I see it is that not allowing your kids to attend school is like child neglect. I have known young kids who don't make it to school because a parent just didn't feel like getting out of bed to get them ready or made the young kids take care of even younger siblings. Maybe jail isn't a perfect option, but what would be more effective? Besides, in my experience, a serious threat like jail or fine is what gets results. A kid will miss 19 out of the 20 alloted days to be missed, a parent will get a note or call saying jail or a big fine is impending if the kid misses another day, and suddenly they're able to make it to school. I have never seen these things actually happen because the parents are so scared by the threat of them.
     
  31. i8myhomework

    i8myhomework Comrade

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    If the parent is in jail, who will care for the child? What if the child only has one parent? What if the parent going to jail causes them to lose their job? The kid could end up in foster care and while yeah, the may be in school but they might have a potentially awful home life situation.

    The above is extreme I realize, but it's possible. The problem with punishing parents is that the consequences trickle down on the students. They ARE affected.

    I don't have a solution but jail doesn't sound like a fix to me.
     
  32. PrincessDaisy

    PrincessDaisy Rookie

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    I think it needs to be a possibility. There is a lot of bad parenting go on and nothing is being done. Some parents just don't care about their children's well being. Maybe they'll care about going to jail. Just like the thread I made about in school suspension. More parents would be on their child's clase to act right/do the right thing if they knew there was a chance they had to spend the whole day with them, but no. Kids gets punished at school, too. :rolleyes:
     
  33. gr3teacher

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    Just as two quick examples... a tenth grader is going to have a much easier time sneaking off campus after arriving (or just not showing up in the first place), and a tenth grader would sound much more convincingly adult on the phone ("Oh, Suzy is at a doctor's appointment today").
     
  34. KinderCowgirl

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    or a child who is involved in gangs, etc. How does a parent fight that? I've seen good, caring parents have to deal with their kids getting involved with things beyond their control. I think it's naive to think putting parents in jail is going to make the child go to school-and in the end that's what we are looking for right?
     
  35. orangetea

    orangetea Connoisseur

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    I think it depends on the situation. I can see situations where parents of high schoolers prevent their kids from going to school, and the parents would deserve a punishment. But after elementary school, if the students are the ones who are cutting class, they deserve a punishment.

    I'm really not a fan of using jail as a consequence in this scenario.
     
  36. monsieurteacher

    monsieurteacher Aficionado

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    In my short time in middle school, there were many parents who were completely oblivious to their children not attending school. On the other hand, I remember one family, and the son would often stay home to babysit his two and three year old siblings while his mother was passed out drunk. I think different approaches are necessary based on the circumstances.
     
  37. Go Blue!

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    I see it as a waste of time and resources. My district is always threatening jail time and every quarter they send letters to parents telling them the consequences of their child's truancy. Still, in all my years, I've only known one parent who was actually arrested for this and there was no real jail time. They were released the same day and forced to go to a city court hearing (not a district court hearing).

    Truancy is a big issue here and it has been for decades. Many kids do not see the value in coming to school every day and many of their parents do not either. I've also talked to parents who said they often need their older children to stay home to watch the younger ones because they can't afford child care. This scenario is not rare here. Or I call parents and their like, "I know my child is home all day ... And?" Lots of issues at work here.

    This year, my district's CEO decided to put Principals on PIPs if they had a high rate of truancy and like 50% of the districts Ps were put on a PIP because of this. This was seen as crazy unfair because despite their best efforts, schools/Admin/teachers cannot force students to attend or for their parents to send them.
     
  38. Go Blue!

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    IA and your examples are not extreme at all especially in places where truancy really is a problem. I think this is an important distinction - districts where chronic truancy is rare and districts where it is the norm.

    The vast majority of my students come from one parent households and many of their parents work jobs where they will get fired if they don't show up for a few shifts. Everyone just can't call out sick for a few days (like us) and then show up and it's all ok.
     
  39. Go Blue!

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    No, many schools do not call.

    Once again, I've talked to parents who say they see their kid get on the bus (public, MTA bus) and the kid never makes it schools or they drop them off and head off to work before they see their kid walking right back out.

    Every morning, especially since Spring Break, I see kids walking away from school as I drive up. They meet up at school and then they walk or take the MTA to someone's house.

    What is the parent to do?
     
  40. underthesun

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    Often, the schools would call HOME. Where the students can easily get to and delete the messages before the parents get home.
     
  41. underthesun

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    The parents/guardians could have brought the students to school and the students could have walked in and then walked right back out the back door, or waited until the P/G drove off first. What else can the P/G do?
     
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