Is your child going for perfect attendance? I know itâ€™s just a little piece of paper handed out at the end of the school year, but some kids really want that coveted piece of paper.
For those kids, truancy is a non-issue. For those families, truancy officers and jail time for absences is not even a relevant conversation, but for others, itâ€™s a very real possibility.
Do you think that truancy officers should be allowed to fine students and parents and, in some cases, even demand jail time as restitution for absences?
For the benefit of the studentâ€™s education, I completely understand the need to crack down on unexcused absences. The more butts in seats, the more learning that will be going on, the better the test scores and that means more money coming into the school and bragging rights. Excused absences are something all together separate.
Many U.S. schools are now adopting the restitution for absences policy. What is the punishment for missing too much school, you ask?
Students, and parents, run the risk of being fined or incarcerated. Locked up, away from school, in effect, missing more school. I canâ€™t understand how that is supposed to be helping with the unexcused absences issue unless you get a note and it is excused if you are serving school demanded jail time. This seems counter-intuitive, right?
Something needs to be done to lower the absences, for sure, but jail time seems a little steep and fines paid by parents doesnâ€™t really seem like itâ€™s going to do a whole hell of a lot to punish the habitual ditcher.
Iâ€™m pretty certain that a deviant teen could care less if their parent is charged a fine for them missing school. The only way to punch a habitual ditcher is to force them to be in school. How about instead of jail time, students with high amounts of unexcused absences spend an extra hour a day in school or have to attend on Saturday? That may be more of an appropriate punishment for the perpetrator.
There needs to be consequences in place, but not to punish parents and certainly not to punish children who miss school for legitimate reasons; chronic illnesses, standing appointments, etc.
For those who try to outsmart the system (habitual ditchers or parents who donâ€™t enforce the rules at home), sure there should be some sort of system in place to help them to stay the straight and narrow.
Honestly, I donâ€™t want to live in a police state and I prefer that the government stay out of my parenting decisions. I think this system is giving too much power and not enough information to the truancy officers. What if the parent does everything right and somewhere between drop off and the front door of the school the kid makes a detour?
No matter how you look at it, fining students and their parents and jail time for absences seems too extreme. The purpose of this system is to help students do better in school by curtailing unexcused absences but, in reality, it is too flawed to benefit the school, the students or the parents.
Do you think this truancy system is going benefit anyone? What do you think would be a better alternative?
Photo Source: Rick Harris