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Parents Could Get Jail Time For Truant Kids (POLL)

First Posted: 12/16/11 04:45 PM ET Updated: 12/16/11 04:45 PM ET

If students in Palm Beach County, Fla. cut too many classes, it's their parents who could be in real trouble.

The Sun Sentinel reports that parents convicted in a newly established truancy court could face up to two months in jail for allowing their children to skip school.

Under Florida law, "parents can be charged with truancy if a child between 6 and 16 has 15 or more unexcused absences in three months," according to the Sentinel.

But many aren't convinced the new approach will be effective.

In a recent post, Amy Reiter at Cafe Mom weighed in on the prospect of parents doing hard time for their kids' infractions.

I get why the court system might want to take a strong hand with parents in the case of younger kids. We really all should be able to find a way to get our 6-, 7-, and 8-year-olds to school. But in the case of older kids, I have to wonder if going after the parents so strongly is the right move.

Yahoo News notes that Florida is not the only state to take an aggressive approach to policing truancy. As one example, The Baltimore Sun reported that a dozen parents were sentenced to jail in 2011 because their kids missed too much school.

Punishing parents when their kids ditch school is nothing new. The ACLU noticed the trend back in 1999.

Kary Moss, then the executive director of the ACLU of Michigan was skeptical of the practice.

"The problem here is motivating children," she said. "I don't believe throwing their parents in jail will accomplish that."

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Filed by Simon McCormack  |