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Truancy, punish parents

Should the parents of children who don’t go to school be punished?

All the Yes points:

  1. All children have a right to education and the state should make sure that their parents keep them i…
  2. Parents will work much harder to keep their children in school if they know they could be punished i…
  3. The threat that mum or dad could go to jail because of them will shock a truant into seeing the seri…
  4. Punishment isn’t just about jail. Most cases of truanting never get to court in the first place but…
  5. This policy isn’t about punishment and nothing else. Schools and the state should offer support to …
  6. The cost of truancy to society is very high, so it is right that the state acts strongly to deal wit…
  7. Punishments like jail are only used in very unusual cases. Parents who are really making an effort …

All the No points:

All children have a right to education and the state should make sure that their parents keep them i…

Yes because…

All children have a right to education and the state should make sure that their parents keep them in school. Even if the child does not want to go to school, he or she is not mature enough to make that decision. After all, we do not allow under-16s to smoke, buy alcohol, drive, vote or marry – so why should we allow them to mess up their whole future by skipping school? Because parents are responsible for children’s wellbeing, it is right to take them to court and punish them if they are failing in their duties.

No because…

If a child chooses to miss school, it is the child, not the parent who is at fault. Usually the parents want them to go to school, so it is wrong to punish the person who hasn’t done anything. If anyone should be punished, it should be the truant. After all, they are thinking, independent human beings, not just the property of their parents. In any case, most truancy involves 12-16 year olds, who are clearly able to make their own decisions. In the UK and USA these children are treated as adults by the courts if they commit a crime, why do we apply a different standard for school attendance?

Parents will work much harder to keep their children in school if they know they could be punished i…

Yes because…

Parents will work much harder to keep their children in school if they know they could be punished if the child truants. Many parents don’t take their responsibilities seriously enough and ignore the law. By putting punishments in place the state sends them a clear message about the importance of education. Only a few hard-core offenders actually need to be punished before millions of others get the message. Over time, parents of pre-school children will be more aware of how importantly society views education, and will do more to support their child as they go through school

No because…

Many mums and dads are at their wit’s end about how to control their kids. Children who truant often also stay out all night, join gangs, and drink, smoke and try drugs – none of which parents want. So these parents need help, not threats. After all, how do you control a 14 year old who doesn’t want to do what you say? There is a danger that this policy will lead to violence and other domestic abuse. More children may end up running away from home. And both kids and parents will see school as something nasty that wants to punish them, not a positive place offering them opportunities.

The threat that mum or dad could go to jail because of them will shock a truant into seeing the seri…

Yes because…

The threat that mum or dad could go to jail because of them will shock a truant into seeing the seriousness of their behaviour. It will bring home to them how what they do has an effect on others, so they will stop truanting. Again, having the threat of punishment doesn’t mean it will get used in every case. But knowing what could happen will make children listen more seriously to school authorities when they first start to raise problems.

No because…

Many of these children don’t care what happens to their parents so the threat won’t work. What about parents who deliver their child to school in the morning expecting them to put in a full day in the classroom, only to discover they left again a few minutes later? What more could the parent reasonably do? Schools are also at fault here – teachers and administrators are paid to keep these children in the classroom. And perhaps if their school was better run, and lesson were more interesting, then there would be less truancy anyway.

Punishment isn’t just about jail. Most cases of truanting never get to court in the first place but…

Yes because…

Punishment isn’t just about jail. Most cases of truanting never get to court in the first place but are sorted out by letters, phone calls and visits. Only if these don’t work does the case go to court. And if the courts are involved, most parents are punished with fines, community service or maybe the loss of welfare benefits. Jail only gets used for repeated offences, where the lesser punishments have not worked. Even then prison sentences are usually only for a few days or weeks. They are needed as an ultimate penalty, usually only for cases where a child is missing three-quarters of school days over a long period.

No because…

Our prisons are crowded and it is very expensive to keep someone in jail. Parents of truants are not violent or a threat to others. They are usually very sad people who need help rather than punishment. Jail should be kept for real crimes and dangerous offenders. This policy is a waste of time and money for the police, courts, and prisons. All three should focus on their real job of keeping society safer.

This policy isn’t about punishment and nothing else. Schools and the state should offer support to …

Yes because…

This policy isn’t about punishment and nothing else. Schools and the state should offer support to students with needs, and to troubled families. For example, Britain has invested millions in improving schools, supporting individual children, mentoring, running breakfast clubs, offering parenting classes, etc. But there are still some families that won’t take the help on offer, so the policy has to include sticks as well as carrots. After all, schools cannot support children with special needs if they are not in the classroom in the first place.

No because…

Truancy cannot be treated on its own – it is often a warning sign of other problems. Many children truant because they know they will be bullied and are scared to go to school. Others have learning or behavioural difficulties that the school is failing to tackle. Some are very bright and don’t see any point of turning up for lessons that do not stretch them, or where discipline is so bad learning is not possible. Until the reasons children play truant are dealt with, no amount of punishment will work.

The cost of truancy to society is very high, so it is right that the state acts strongly to deal wit…

Yes because…

The cost of truancy to society is very high, so it is right that the state acts strongly to deal with it. Children who skip school miss out on an education and cannot reach their potential as productive members of society. They are more likely to end up unemployed and on benefits, and will end up costing the state a lot of money. Crime, drug-taking and teen pregnancy are all strongly linked to truancy – if truancy rates go down, so do these other social problems.

No because…

Punishing parents for their children’s truancy has very bad effects. If parents are fined or have benefits cut, then the whole family loses out, not just the one child who has missed school. And if the family is poor then other children may also go hungry. Sending a parent to prison, even for a few days, is even worse, as they will almost always lose their job and not be able to get another one. And often these are single-parent families, so if the mother is put in jail then all her children will have to be taken into care. This is upsetting at best, may lead to abuse in some cases, and usually results in poor education anyway.

Punishments like jail are only used in very unusual cases. Parents who are really making an effort …

Yes because…

Punishments like jail are only used in very unusual cases. Parents who are really making an effort to work with their kids’ school, and trying to get their child into the classroom are not being picked on. Courts are not at all keen on sending people to prison, and use other punishments if at all possible. This means that the policy is applied sensitively – jail is only used for hardened offenders who do not care.

No because…

This policy is heavy-handed and often applied unfairly. Different schools and local officials have different approaches, and some resort to threats of prison far too quickly. Often they have been given targets by the government and feel under pressure to get quick results. As threats are quicker than long-term support, this means more people end up in court.

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Alice K.
7 years ago

mmmn mmmn mmmnn this is a damn shame. Punishing parents for out of control kids. Parents can’t win for losing. You do everything in your power to make them go to school, and they don’t listen. If you whip their asses you get in trouble. If you do nothing and they skip school, you get in trouble. smh.

This is ridiculous. Do they know how many hateful kids out there that just want to punish their parents for not getting them a new video game, or punishing them for smoking or some other discipline? This is the most excellent way for them to get revenge. Just skip school and the parents will get the end of it.

Whomever came up with this must not have had kids or they were a bad ass kid that wanted to punish parents. I hope who ever is enforcing this stupid law will have it come back full circle on themselves and their kids or grandkids will do just that and cause them to go to court and be punished.

It’s outrageous WHAT can a parent be expected to do??? These kids are old enough to know better, THEY need to be punished for their own actions, not be taught that others will be responsible for their bad behavior.

This is sad and I hope anyone supporting it will see it first hand in their own kids or grandkids.

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