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Should parents be fined for truancy?

 
 
Reply Wed 19 Sep, 2012 07:36 pm
Several school districts in my area are thinking that they will start fining parents if their child has too many unexcused absences from school:

Quote:
Under the new program, parents will be notified by certified letter if: their child racks up too many absences, the school hasn't been notified of upcoming absences, and if absences are not excused. Parents will have to get their students to school and may have to meet with the school to avoid the citation, a $190 fine. Citations may be dismissed after 30 days of consistent attendance.


http://www.oregonlive.com/gresham/index.ssf/2012/09/east_county_school_district_te.html

I have mixed feelings about this, and I'm still working through those feelings. As such, I thought I would ask you what you think to see if anyone could present a compelling argument in either direction.

Can you help me out?

Thanks!

 
boomerang
 
  1  
Reply Wed 19 Sep, 2012 07:55 pm
@boomerang,
Ooops. I shouldn't have said "unexcused", even excused absences can get tallied towards the fine.

At Mo's old school we could pull him out for a week or more with no problem. They'd send a pile of work home -- whatever they'd be covering during the time he'd miss -- and as long as we saw that it got done, no problem.

At his new school, they're very, very strict about attendance. They won't send work home, they don't assign homework. "You need to be here, on time, every day" is the message. They send it loud and clear. One minute late equals a tardy. Too many tardys and they send you packing back to your district school.

The fact that Mo really likes the school makes it easy to get him there, thank goodness.

I won a gold medal at skipping class. It was too easy to catch up. Maybe if schools just made it harder for kids to miss class it would solve the problem of truancy....

0 Replies
 
boomerang
 
  1  
Reply Wed 19 Sep, 2012 08:14 pm
Talking to myself....

I guess this law kind of reminds me of the soda laws and the cigarette laws and the laws that try to regulate non-criminal behavior.

Should not going to school be against the law?

I really have a hard time thinking that it should.
ossobuco
 
  1  
Reply Wed 19 Sep, 2012 08:16 pm
@boomerang,
I've no formed opinion yet. (So, listening)
boomerang
 
  1  
Reply Wed 19 Sep, 2012 08:34 pm
@ossobuco,
You know, osso, if my parents had been fined for me missing school they would have said "I hope you know that you're paying that".

And that might have gotten my butt in class. But maybe not. I had a job. I might have just thought that it was going to cost me $400 to miss class that year. I probably would have thought it was totally worth it.

It might set other kids against their parents in an epic battle. School v. kids v. parents sounds like an awful thing. I can see parents getting mad and a kid saying **** this and leaving for good.

I wonder if the people who come up with this stuff have any idea what life is like for some kids.

I'm talking myself into thinking this is a horrible idea.
engineer
 
  4  
Reply Wed 19 Sep, 2012 08:39 pm
@boomerang,
I'm wondering where the flip side lawsuit comes in. The parent delivers the child to school then the child cuts. Can the parent sue the school for lack of supervision of the child?
boomerang
 
  1  
Reply Wed 19 Sep, 2012 08:50 pm
@engineer,
Oh! That's interesting.

That's how I cut class. I'd take the bus to school, hit homeroom and be gone for parts of the day.
0 Replies
 
ossobuco
 
  2  
Reply Wed 19 Sep, 2012 09:01 pm
@boomerang,
That's what I was thinking, that some kids are dealing with horrible stuff of differing sorts, and some parents certainly are too.
Is this just for private situations? If it were in public schools it sounds horrendous to me.
I went to a private catholic high school (which I rattled on about on a2k every once in a while) but one friend of mine was kept out of graduation ceremony until the last minute because her mother and she (both worked) couldn't make the tuition payment, and in my family it was a real push to make those payments when my father was out of work, and I worked to pay for my student needs. But then neither friend nor I skipped school, for a lot of reasons - but if we had, it would have been sticky.


But then - we had homework, so the no homework aspect, which I can understand, changes the dynamics for me somewhat.

I'll be quiet and listen.
0 Replies
 
ehBeth
 
  3  
Reply Wed 19 Sep, 2012 09:05 pm
@engineer,
engineer wrote:

I'm wondering where the flip side lawsuit comes in. The parent delivers the child to school then the child cuts. Can the parent sue the school for lack of supervision of the child?


I believe that's already happened more than a few times.

~~~~

I really wish there was a way to prevent unprepared/disinterested people from becoming parents.
ehBeth
 
  2  
Reply Wed 19 Sep, 2012 09:06 pm
@boomerang,
boomerang wrote:
Should not going to school be against the law?

I really have a hard time thinking that it should.



I'll go for that if there can be something the kid and parents sign to confirm there will be no demand on social services to support the kid when s/he can't get any kind of job - which is increasingly likely these days.
Rockhead
 
  3  
Reply Wed 19 Sep, 2012 10:18 pm
@boomerang,
I spent my senior year living away from home.

they called my folks occasionally until someone let the cat outta the bag that they had no idea where I was, nor any concern as to what I might be doing...

fining them woulda just pissed them off more...

I got my diploma, but only because some of my teachers helped me miss major amounts of time in several classes so I could retain employment.

I would never have made it in today's closely regimented and inflexible structuring of the education system...
hawkeye10
 
  1  
Reply Wed 19 Sep, 2012 10:51 pm
the dirty little secret is that in todays ultra low quality schools attendance is like business staff meetings on crack....almost all of the actual work can be phoned in, almost all of the meeting time is wasted. I routinely get robo calls from the school computer telling me that my kid missed part or all of the day, this has been going on for years with my kids, and it is damned annoying. however if i dont provide number to call and an email I am considered to be a negligent parent so I cant opt out of them. I am very glad that my youngest kid is a HS senior, because i am never going to have to deal with these idiotic truancy programs.
Ticomaya
 
  1  
Reply Wed 19 Sep, 2012 11:03 pm
@Rockhead,
Rockhead wrote:
I got my diploma, but only because some of my teachers helped me miss major amounts of time in several classes so I could retain employment.

Judy left off?
Rockhead
 
  1  
Reply Wed 19 Sep, 2012 11:24 pm
@Ticomaya,
among others. (I proctored a physics class I saw exactly twice)

my former geometry teacher is now a captain in the fire dept.

and my theater professor. not sure where he is now.

not in local theater...

0 Replies
 
boomerang
 
  1  
Reply Thu 20 Sep, 2012 05:50 am
@ehBeth,
My parents weren't unprepared or disinterested. As long as I made passing grades they weren't bothered by my skipping class.

In the age of standardized testing it seems that if a kid could just show up for those tests, and pass, that the school shouldn't get too wigged out about truancy.
boomerang
 
  1  
Reply Thu 20 Sep, 2012 05:53 am
@ehBeth,
That's an interesting take. I'm sure that legally it would never wash since minors can't sign contracts but I could see them somehow making any kind of assistance tied to level of education. I'm not familiar enough with welfare programs to know how or if that would work.
0 Replies
 
boomerang
 
  1  
Reply Thu 20 Sep, 2012 06:04 am
@Rockhead,
Ouch, Rockhead.

That's the kind of thing I was talking about when I said I don't think the schools really take into consideration what might be going on at home with some kids.

There was a story we discussed here on A2K not long ago about a girl who was fined and jailed for truancy. Her parents had deserted the family and she went to work trying to support her little brother and trying to help her older brother finish up his year at college. Some days she was just too exhausted to go to school. Once the full story came out people did step in to help her though.
0 Replies
 
boomerang
 
  1  
Reply Thu 20 Sep, 2012 06:09 am
@hawkeye10,
I got robo calls on the first day of school saying that Mo had missed classes. Mo had already been attending his new school for a week. Since I had never received one bit of communication from the neighborhood school -- like who his teachers were and what classes he'd be taking -- I assumed the school knew he wasn't going there.

Turns out, they didn't notify a lot of kids about anything. From what I hear the first day of school was a total clusterfuck of nobody knowing where to go.
0 Replies
 
Linkat
 
  4  
Reply Thu 20 Sep, 2012 07:04 am
I’d be ok with fining for unexcused absences, but not excused. What if a child is severally ill? I think what is happening in many schools is they are taking away judgment for the school/principal/teachers. These people running the schools and teaching are children are educated and professional people. They should be able to make solid good common sense decisions or else they shouldn’t be working in these positions. So to me, having a policy where any excessive absences are fined since a bit crazy. That being said, there should be clear definitions of excused absences. Going to Disney World for a week because you want to avoid the crowds to me would be deemed unexcused – the parents can decide if they want to use this towards their allotted unexcused absences.

As far as missing school – I can see different sides. One thing though on the side of the schools, is by making it an issue to be miss school without good reason or to be tardy without good reason does teach the child about real life – you can’t be calling in sick all the time to work or miss a day because you feel like – being late to work without good reason isn’t going to be good for your long term career either. This teaches the child the importance of being at school when you are supposed to be. It also shows respect for the teachers and other students as you are not disrupting them by coming in late.

Some here have mentioned about the students signing contracts. My older daughter has had to do this most recently in her public middle school; she has also had to do this prior in her private school. I think it is used as much to give kids ownership for their actions and to understand the school’s rules. Not sure how much it would hold up in a court, but my opinion it lets the kids know that they are responsible.
DrewDad
 
  3  
Reply Thu 20 Sep, 2012 07:13 am
@boomerang,
Making attendance all about the money is a huge mistake, IMO.

Yes, we know that the school gets paid based on how many kids attend each day.

Yes, we know that it costs the school money if a kid is out sick, or skips school, or goes on vacation.

But I see that as a problem with how schools are funded.
 

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