Jailing parents: a slippery slope



In Michigan, a prosecutor is apparently pushing for a law that would require all Michigan parents to have at least one face-to-face meeting with their child’s teachers per year or face jail time.

On the one hand, I like the fact that we finally have one governmental person who recognizes that when there are problems with kids, they are more likely to be a parent problem than a teacher problem.  As you know, I am not absolving all members of my profession of everything, but invariably, problems with kids are more likely to be traced back to their home environment than what is happening between teachers and students.

The law would have some exceptions:  parents who demonstrate good and regular contact with teachers, students who, due to illness are forced to miss a certain amount of school, and a few others.

That was not the scariest part of the article.  Quoting from a television interview given by the prosecutor:

A lot of people say that we shouldn’t legislate morality, but we already do … We legislate for children specifically that they have to be in car seats. We legislate that parents have to send their children to school if they’re 6 to 15 years old. And, here in Michigan, you can go to jail for up to 30 days … if you don’t send your children to school … So, we legislate all kinds of things already when it comes to children.”

That by definition seems to be a classic slipper slope … once we made common sense laws that did in fact intervene between parent and child, it becomes a little easier to make non-common sense laws.  Keeping away from extremism, I think we hope that lawmakers and the courts maintain a level of common sense when it comes to keeping us from sliding down that slope.

But then again, I am a public school teacher, and I have been a witness to NCLB.  The idea of hoping law makers and the courts exercise common sense long ago left me.


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