SACRAMENTO, Calif.—The state of California would hold parents responsible if their children are chronically truant under a bill the state Senate approved Thursday.The bill is Calif SB 1317.
The bill would let prosecutors charge parents with misdemeanors punishable by up to a year in jail and a $2,000 fine if their kids miss too much school. Judges could delay the punishment to parents as an incentive to get their children to class.
It applies only to parents or guardians of children age 6 or older in kindergarten through eighth grade. Prosecutors would have to prove the parents failed to reasonably supervise and encourage the student to attend school.
Chronic truancy would be defined in a separate pending bill as missing 10 percent or more of the school year without a valid excuse.
A year in jail for missing some school seems extreme to me. The teachers at my kids' school seemed to waste about 50% of the time anyway. Nobody puts the teachers in jail for failing to teach.
My ex-wife asked CPS to send the police after missing a day of school. The cops reported that everything was fine. CPS normally does not intervene unless the kids are missing more than half of the school year.
I think this proposed law is ridiculous, but at least it would set a standard. I could miss 10% of the school year, and cite this law to say that it is legal.