Parents Face Arrest, Fines and Jail Time When Their Kids Miss School. Why?

Missing School: Should the reason matter? What about a student’s GPA, does it matter?

Sure, excessive school absence is an important issue: mostly for school systems who worry about the money that is calculated on the basis of attendance! Might students perform better and learn more if in school rather than missing school. Sometimes, maybe even “yes.” Kids miss school for a lot of reasons and kids miss school because their parents kept them out and some miss school without their parents even knowing (playing “hooky”). However, the issue is not that children should be able to play hooky or miss excessive school with no consequences – No, the question is whether the student who misses school should be in “detention” or get failing grades for missed work and tests or should parents of kids who miss school be arrested or cited criminally and face possible jail time and fines? Well, in Indiana parents of kids with excessive absences faced level 6 felonies with the possibility of up to 30 months in prison. But here is the rub: it doesn’t matter whether the students are not learning and are failing because they miss school or, in spite of missing school, continue to excel and get A’s and B’s (in other words, no real harm to the student for missing school). Parents often keep their child home from school, for a reason sufficient for the parent, and, if those children are not doing poorly in school, is there any real harm to the students that justifies the state charging the parents with a crime? According to the US Constitution, parents have the fundamental rights to decide for their own children – so unless kids missing school are at serious risk or facing long term emotional and/or physical harm, isn’t this response by the state in direct breach of parent’s rights?

Unfortunately, this example is part of a bigger problem of the state acting in violation of parent’s rights, as well as threatening the parent-child dynamic. ParentsUSATM contends that the rights of parents means schools MUST accept a note, email or other verified communication from a parent to make a child’s absence EXCUSED provided only that the student maintains an objective academic measure of learning (such as GPA being at a certain level) which means the child is not being harmed by the absences the parents allow. A sick child does not always need to go to a doctor. There are reasons, private reasons, a parent keeps a child home from school and parents should not be required to justify the reasons the parents kept their own children home from school. Let’s not allow cases like this to happen again. Help us push back! Kudos to Yahoo! Parenting for addressing this problem.

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