Are Fines and Jail Time Appropriate Consequences for Truancy?

Wow. What do you guys all think of this?

I always tried to make it a practice of not taking my kids out of school for dental or doctor appointments. Really any appointments of any kind. I’m still trying to understand how a first grader can miss 27 days of school. That’s a whole lot of missing time. I do know once you get to junior and senior high, if you miss more than X amount of days you start failing classes and it doesn’t matter what “excuse” you have. If you miss too many days, you fail with no questions asked. I think state guidelines say each student needs “so many” hours of each class in order to graduate.

But to be fined or go to jail for it, I’m not sure. What do you think? Would it help or hinder?

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5 Responses to Are Fines and Jail Time Appropriate Consequences for Truancy?

  1. SKL says:

    I’ve heard of things like this before, but usually with unexcused absences and a parent who doesn’t quite seem to have it all together.

    I think it’s completely counterproductive. It’s bullying. The school stands to lose money if students are absent, therefore students and parents are bullied into attending even when they are sick or have other good reasons to miss school.

    There are already laws to address the situations where the parents or kids are just messed up and the child really should be in school. Why do they need to create laws that reach people who are actually doing the best they can?

    Education is important, but each day of school isn’t the be-all and end-all of a person’s life. I had a pretty bad attendance record and it didn’t make a big difference in the grand scheme of things. It didn’t stop me from being a conscientious employee or parent or housekeeper. There’s so much duplication in school, many kids may be better off doing something else some of the time. And then there are kids who are truly sick. What good does it do to punish or bully them? It would make more sense for them to work with each sick child on a flexible basis so they can get what they need educationally within their legitimate limitations.

    Then there is the other question: if kids are making a choice not to attend school, why? Is the time spent at school worthwhile? Are learning disabilities and giftedness being properly addressed? Is the curriculum challenging and relevant? Do kids feel safe? Criminal penalties for nonattendance aren’t going to make these real issues go away.

  2. starlaschat says:

    I think common sense is really what seems to be lacking these days, just my opinion. We were just talking about this subject yesterday. For Navar it’s always difficult trying to juggle all the kids lots of them taking time off for one thing or another. Because a lot of the kids come from farming families or families who have lots of cattle the kids are out of school from time to time to help their the family farm. It is extra work for Navar, but it’s just the way it is here and has been for years. As far as kids with legitimate health issues I think where is the compassion I would imagine it is probably not easy for the kids or parents who have a sick child. I was saying to Navar when I went to school I never thought taking time off was really even an option school was school and time off just wasn’t really in my thoughts. Also sports takes a lot of the kids out of classes going to games.

  3. Nikki says:

    Missing school once a week for therapy?! That is just plain stupid. Surly there has to be a therapist willing to see a child after school hours. I don’t see how a professional in that area would even suggest such a thing. They have to know this child is missing school once a week.

    I always try to not schedule appointment during school. Unless there is no other way, but chances are most doctors, dentists, etc., have after school appointments available.

    Now for real health problems, that keep the child out of school, there should be guidelines protecting them from fines or jail time. As long as they are mentally and physically able to do their work (outside of school, and turn it in) the days out should not count against them.

  4. Phyllis says:

    Absolutely not! This is more a problem with the parent and the dr.It’s just wrong to abuse and discipline the child because the adults are goofy!

    • Phyllis says:

      Ok, I’m sorry that I didn’t read the article before commenting. In the cases spoken of, in my opinion the schools are wrong to proceed with these drastic measures. There are legitimate medical and mental issues here. What ever happened to compassion? Surely the schools can work out tutoring or something of this nature ( home visits from a teaching professional) to help these families out. They are under enough stress trying to deal with the professionals who are caring for these kids. As long as there is paperwork, filled out by the dr. offices, I don’t believe there should be any problem with giving these families some much needed understanding and helping where needed.

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