Yesterday morning as I read of yet another threat against a school in a neighboring district after a middle school student in our own was arrested for bringing a loaded gun to school last week, the issue of truancy laws came to the forefront of my mind.
Should schools have the authority to enforce school attendance when they can no longer guarantee the safety of their students?
I can’t help but find it a bit hypocritical that school districts with frequent incidents of violence can still threaten parents with fines and/or incarceration if their kids miss too much school. It just makes no sense to me. Shouldn’t the parents have the authority to make this decision, especially in light of the rise in school violence recently?
Think of it this way: If a parent knowingly leaves their child in a potentially precarious situation, chances are that parent may have a run-in with law enforcement, and rightfully so.
So…why do truancy laws force school attendance for an institution that is more and more likely to be unsafe? Here is a short list of recent developments in U.S. schools, not including the two already listed above:
Recent School Violence in the U.S.
- 6 yr. old shot and killed at South Carolina school
- Washington school shooting
- Student shot and killed in school gym by another student
- Student charged as an adult in Philadelphia school shooting
- 16 yr. old shoots 5 bullets into school bus, injuring 2
- Shooting in cafeteria at school in Ohio
- Student shot in the abdomen at Alabama high school
- Student shot outside Utah school
- 4 students shot in San Francisco school shooting
I could literally list hundreds more, but I think I made my point. (You can find a more complete list right here.)
Keep in mind that this list doesn’t even include stabbings, fights, bullying, bomb threats, and sexual assaults. Think about that for a minute.
So again I ask, why are parents forced by law to send their precious children to institutions that are potentially- and increasingly- dangerous places to be?
Several years ago when my kids were still in public school, I drove past their elementary school to find everyone standing outside around the block. I pulled over and asked a teacher what was going on. Bomb threat. I promptly located my kids and found the principal, telling her I was taking my kids home. She wasn’t pleased and informed me it would count as an unexcused absence.
An unexcused absence?
My kids were evacuated from their school for a bomb threat and somehow my taking them home early was unexcusable??
I think it’s about time that parent’s rights supercede the rights of the schools. As parents, we need to stand up for our kids and be the advocates they need us to be.
Aren’t they worth it?