December 17, 2017

Are some school districts crying for help, or are they just out of line?

At first I was shocked by the stories of school districts and administrators so frustrated by a lack of parental involvement they’ve taken drastic measures like banning homemade lunches and jailing parents of truant kids.


When I first read about the Chicago area school that banned students from bringing their own brown bag lunches to school, I immediately thought They’re trying to keep kids with allergies safe.  But when there was no mention of that, I got mad. How dare they dictate what our kids eat for lunch, with all their individual quirks and tastes?


Apparently there were so many students coming to school imbibing “flaming hot” chips and soda alone I knew exactly what the problem was and I immediately then felt compassion for the school officials, remembering what it was like when I was a teacher. After lunch the students in my fifth period classes were often times completely berserk, high on sugar, just after lunch.  And since many moms don’t pack lunch for their teenagers, I know mine didn’t by the time I was a teenager, maybe it is indeed healthier, and more conducive to learning, to make the kids eat the controlled food the cafeteria provides.  It’s just too bad it had to get to this point.


Now jailing the parents of truant kids also seems extreme, but upon closer inspection it’s really just a sign of desperation by the schools.  Nationally schools have charged parents for their children’s truancies and some parents in Baltimore have even been recently sentenced to jail. One mom spent 10 days locked up because her 15-year-old missed the majority of school days during the year.  The mother claims she dropped her son off each morning. For parents to be convicted, though, a school has to prove they knew their children were missing school. So there’s a big disconnect somewhere.
It’s rare for parents to serve jail time, but blaming them for student truancies is becoming the norm. California’s anti-truancy bill took effect just at the beginning of this year. Parents can serve up to a year in jail if convicted of allowing their children to skip class. Texas and Florida already have similar laws.  There are even proponents for three day jail sentences for parents who miss their kids’ school conferences.


What are your thoughts? Are these school districts desperate, or out of line?




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