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Education news and notes from Tampa Bay and Florida

Truancy prevention: Should parents be jailed if their kids miss school?



Florida law allows for criminal prosecution of parents whose children are habitually truant from school. 

We hear about cases occasionally.

By and large, though, counties don't do much enforcement. Sometimes they're even surprised by the extent of their absenteeism problems.

Palm Beach County is stepping up its activity with a new truancy court after more than 15 years, the Sun-Sentinel reports:

"Palm Beach School District staff have struggled to force parents to bring their absent kids back to school ever since budget cuts ended law enforcement interventions several years ago, said Judith Klinek, chief academic officer for the School District. 'We needed a little bit of muscle. There was no follow through,' Klinek said."

But is sending parents to jail going to get their kids to school? Isn't it already an ingrained habit well before they get to this point? Plus, if the parent is in jail, who's waking up the (already non-schoolgoing) children and at least trying to get them moving? 

So we put it to you: Jail time for parents of the truant? Or is there something else that works?

[Last modified: Monday, December 12, 2011 6:22am]


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