Should We Be Criminalizing Truancy?
Last Thursday California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger signed SB 1317, a new statewide anti-truancy bill that officials hope will curb chronic absenteeism in elementary and middle school students. The new law will go into effect on January 1, 2011, and allow state officials to prosecute parents when their kids don’t show up to school.
Guess who will likely be affected most heavily?
It was black and Latino youth who were more likely to get caught up in the system — it’s also black and Latino youth who are more likely to be poor; more likely to depend on unreliable public transit to get to school; more likely to have younger siblings to take care of and family responsibilities to tend to.
I don’t know, this seems unnecessarily harsh. But I guess it’s also easier – and cheaper! – than making school more fun, more interesting, and structured so that kids understand the importance of education.
What do you think? Should parents be held more accountable this way?