In Detroit, Miss a PTA Meeting and Go Directly to Jail

Ericka Blount Danois, BV Black Spin, July 7, 2010

In the ongoing saga of Detroit’s dysfunction comes Wayne County Prosecutor Kym Worthy’s bright idea to jail parents in Detroit for up to three days for repeatedly missing parent-teacher conferences.

Worthy’s argument is that parents who are not accountable for their children are part of the problem with elevated truancy, dropout rates and a recent rash of violent crimes involving teens:

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So if you have a single parent who is working and unable to attend a conference, then that parent should be jailed, which would leave the child completely alone? Are you jailing a parent who’s a deadbeat? Or is it just the primary caregiver? What about someone with 10 kids and 10 different schools? What about kids who just have bad parents? Will meeting with a teacher make them better parents? My parents didn’t make every conference for my sister and I, and I haven’t made every conference for my children. We all did well or are doing well in school. Is any of this logical?

Under Worthy’s plan, Wayne County parents would be required to pick a time and day to attend one parent-teacher conference a year. If that conference is missed, the school would send out a letter to set up another within 14 days. If the second is missed, parents get a letter about sanctions, which could include up to three days in jail.

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This proposal is unlikely to quickly become an ordinance because it would probably be challenged in court. {snip}

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Maybe Worthy should do some research on tactics that have worked in other districts with Detroit’s demographics. Detroit really doesn’t need any more people in jail. I mean, really.

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