D.C. Council Mulls Punishing Parents of Truant Public School Students

Rachel Baye, Washington Examiner, January 22, 2013

Five D.C. lawmakers introduced a measure to punish parents of public school students who skip school 10 or more times a year.

Fewer than half of DC Public Schools students were rated proficient in either math or reading on their DC Comprehensive Assessment System standardized test last year, and 56 percent graduated high school within four years. The first step to solving these problems is getting students to go to school, said at-large D.C. Councilman David Catania, the lead sponsor of the bill introduced Tuesday.

David Catania

David Catania

Under current law, a parent whose child has two or more unexcused absences a month can be found guilty of a misdemeanor and be forced to pay a fine of up to $500 or spend two days in jail.

But the law isn’t enforced, Catania said. “As a result, we have an epidemic of truancy.”

Last school year, 7,110, or 17.5 percent of DC Public Schools students between ages 5 and 17—the age when students are legally required to attend school—had 11 or more unexcused absences, according to DCPS data. Of those, 3,103 had 21 or more.

{snip}

The bill introduced Tuesday would require parents to be issued a warning once a student reached 10 unexcused absences in a school year. They would be prosecuted when the student has 20 unexcused absences for that year. Parents found guilty would be required to perform community service, receive parental counseling or both. Parents who don’t comply would then spend up to five days in jail, pay up to a $100 fine or both.

Though Ward 8 Councilman Marion Barry co-sponsored the bill, he said the measure does not tackle what he said is the largest cause of truancy—poverty.

Ward 8 is home to the two DCPS schools with the highest truancy rates, Ballou Senior High School and Anacostia High School, where 46 percent and 45 percent of students, respectively, had 21 or more unexcused absences last year.

{snip}

[Editor’s Note: In 2008, DC schools were 84.4 percent black and 9.4 percent Hispanic.]

Topics:

Share This

We welcome comments that add information or perspective, and we encourage polite debate. If you log in with a social media account, your comment should appear immediately. If you prefer to remain anonymous, you may comment as a guest, using a name and an e-mail address of convenience. Your comment will be moderated.
  • MekongDelta69

    Good luck with that. He’ll last about a week before all the ‘usual suspects’ sue him for being… (what’s that word again?)… Ahh… Oh yes, I remember… ‘RACIST.’

    • Triarius

      …”disparate impact” on black households.

    • Ed_NY

      Exactly. The councilman will be branded a racist. The truancy law will be over turned because it will be adjudged racist.

  • I have a hard time imagining that this survives the judiciary if it passes.

    • I have a hard time scrolling fast enough past a picture of an obvious homosexual.

  • a multiracial individual

    What will this accomplish except give children leverage over their parents?

    • Puggg

      In some cities where this kind of thing has been tried, this kind of juvenile-on-parent extortion has already happened and been documented.

    • dukem1

      Nothing.

  • The__Bobster

    The first step to solving these problems is getting students to go to
    school, said at-large D.C. Councilman David Catania, the lead sponsor of
    the bill introduced Tuesday.
    ________

    You can lead a groid to culture, but you can’t make him think.

    _________________

    Under current law, a parent whose child has two or more unexcused
    absences a month can be found guilty of a misdemeanor and be forced to
    pay a fine of up to $500 or spend two days in jail.
    ________

    How do you get $500 out of a welfare queen?

    • Michael_C_Scott

      Additionally, aren’t the schools – and the students who really want to learn something – actually better off if the unmotivated troublemakers stay away from class?

      • Sherman_McCoy

        Apparently not.

        “Fewer than half of DC Public Schools students were rated proficient in either math or reading on their DC Comprehensive Assessment System standardized test last year, and 56 percent graduated high school within four years.”

        I SUPPOSE the numbers COULD be worse . . .

    • Oil Can Harry

      “How do you get $500 out of a welfare queen?”

      By deducting it from their next few welfare checks.

      Then again, this law punishes the single mom or Grandma who raised D’BrickaShawnTavius while letting the absentee babydaddy off scot free.

      • George

        And the absentee ‘student’…

  • DISPARATE IMPACT, Mr. Catania!! Your kids aren’t the truants, are they? You will be called the career ending R word for even suggesting such a thing.
    Then, you can change your name to David Catatonic.
    Ouch. that was bad, wasn’t it?

    • From Wiki: Catania was the first openly gay member of the D.C. Council and one of a small number of openly gay Republican office-holders. This led to a conflict within his party when President George W. Bush spoke in favor of an amendment to the United States Constitution to ban same-sex marriage. Catania opposed the amendment and became a vocal opponent of Bush’s 2004 re-election.

      Translation: You give me what I want or else. Just like an AA.

      He ain’t even a rino. Just wait til the AA’s start hurling words. Love to being a in a bullet proof viewing gallery with a bag of popcorn when it happens.

      • George

        R J P

        Yes, he’s gay. So what? He’s also reasonably conservative on most issues. Even though he’s both gay *and* Republican, he still manages to get re-elected in overwhelmingly black DC. Remember that it was the onslaught of black & hispanic voters out to cast their bananas…er, ballots for The Annointed One in 2008 that allowed Prop. 8 to pass in California. The fact that Catania has held his seat in the face of this means he must do something right in the community.

        Truants are not going to learn if they aren’t even present in class. The current penalties are not being enforced. The reason for this is simple. When babymamma gots no *earned* income, she ain’t gonna pay no dumb*ss fine to the crackers. So it’s not worth enforcing.

        So, change the penalty to community service and/or jail time. That’s something babymomma can unnerstan’. That’s what he means, at least in part, when he cites poverty as a factor in truancy. Enforcement of the current regulation is meaningless.

        Catania is attempting to find a way to curb truancy. The ideal is that, once the miscreant is in class, it may actually learn the odd fact or two. As others have mentioned, though, it can result in younger thugs holding their parent-thugs to ransom. Far better if both parent and offspring were BOTH required to do the time…and all EBT, Sec 8 vouchers and other ‘entitlements’ are withheld until it is complete.

        • Sherman_McCoy

          I think rj is simply stating that it will be entertaining to watch the AA crowd go after another minority. I wonder if Mr. Catania is part of the gay gentrification of some parts of some ghettos? In any case, his heart is in the right place, but I doubt enforcement will make any difference, though, I wish him well.

        • HamletsGhost

          Gays are typically afraid of feral blacks, who like to go queer-bashing when bored. Maybe he’s trying to keep the hood rats off the street at least during the daylight hours so his friends can have lunch at the tony bistros without harassment.

    • dukem1

      David Catachronic

  • RisingReich

    If this actually happens, it will be challenged by “My people” Holder on basis of the black ‘parents’ being ‘disparately impacted’. Truly an ‘Amazing Race’.

  • a multiracial individual

    DC schools are approx 6-7% White, while DC itself is approx. 38.5% White. I find it hard to believe that this many White families are sending their kids to private school.

    • Or, those whites don’t have kids.

    • Tom_in_Miami

      Can you imagine those poor white kids sentenced to four years in a school in which they make up only 6-7% of the student body? Life for them must be miserable, day in and day out. I guess they appreciate it when they come home from school without having been stabbed or shot. You know they have been bullied. In similar circumstances my children went to Catholic school. Not cheap but definitely well spent money.

      • A multiracial Individual

        From what I have heard about poor schools, one can mostly avoid the barbarism if they are enrolled in honors courses.

  • Bayouboy

    Here’s the solution……bring the guardians in and make them stand against a wall. Next, give the problem students a stun gun, and force them to use it on their own guardian. No fines are involved or jailtime. Now, what do you think will happen when they get home?

    • Bill

      The guardians will be terrified of their own kids. But then they already are. Ironically, once their kid gets arrested, immediately that kid becomes the finest citizen in the country, a rocket scientist and loving beyond all imagination. The race was always useless and not worth having among us…..once Lincoln won his war on the Constitution.

  • bigone4u

    “Though Ward 8 Councilman Marion Barry co-sponsored the bill, he said the measure does not tackle what he said is the largest cause of truancy—poverty.”
    Poor poverty stricken babies. I’ll bet their out chopping cotton to help put food on the family table. At least, that would be the Hollywood version: The noble truant chopping cotton and burning the midnight oil to keep up with his studies.

    • Non Humans

      Poverty? Really? Barry is a moron. I grew up dirt poor, and how do you think it affected my view on my education? Here’s a hint, I still have some of the ink from those books on my nose.
      .
      Non-humans wouldn’t be able to appreciate the value of an education if it were expressed in the terms of the (c)rappers that they worship.

      • George

        Cut him some slack.

        When your 38-year-old grandmammy ain’t never done no job in her life, and your mamma ain’t done nuthin’ neither, and all your friends are in a similar position, odds are good if you have even the faintest glimmer of intelligence you’ll realise that you ain’t gonna do no work, too.

        Alternately, just like the first graders discussing Santa Claus, one of your brighter friends may uncover this nugget of truth, and share it with you.

        Either way, you’ll quickly realise that you have no hope for a decent, middle class future, so why bother learning about chemistry, or dead presidents (unless they appear on banknotes)?

        P.S. It was positively painful to type all of those double and triple negatives. How anyone can actually attempt to communicate like that on a regular basis escapes me. I’d rather have a double root canal.

      • liberalsuck

        The whole “poverty’ copout is liberal BS. Lots of poor white people during the 30s, yet they didn’t turn into violent felons. The three shooters over the past few years were from well-to-do families, so how does one explain that?

  • whiteyyyyy

    Let them roam free like nature intended. Educating some people is like teaching a monkey sign language, it’s possible but unneccessary. Let them keep falling until they find their level.

    • Sherman_McCoy

      That only works if society is willing to cage up or euthanize the wild animals in its midst.

      • whiteyyyyy

        Wishful thinking on my part. I dont know if society will ever be willing, but I would have no moral qualms with it.

  • Just another damned if you do, damned if you don’t minority program.
    If you don’t force kids to go to school, you’re accused of not caring about minority students. If you force them to attend, you’re harassing them and their parents.
    Another lose-lose game.

    You can’t save people who don’t want to be saved.

    • Michael_C_Scott

      Glad to see you here again.

  • HamletsGhost

    This isn’t about edumacating the cretins. It’s about counting their noses so that the district administrators can get paid for each stoodint they can count on their rolls.

    DC spends more than any other entity on so-called education and the results are all too predictable. But if the money continues to flow to the fat, incompetent administrators, then “it’s all good”.

    That Korean-American woman that was brought in a few years back to clean out the Augean stables tried to close a few schools that were under-populated met a brick wall of resistance from the local community(Stop laughing). They wanted to keep the half-empty school open as a source of middle-class jobs for the otherwise unemployable teachers.

    Just like yesterday’s post about the USPS, it’s all about jobs, not about performance.

  • rebelcelt

    I am for freedom. Let them starve, but do not force them to school. They will just destroy the classroom for those who are trying to learn. Hey, we still need garbagemen, grass mowers, fruit pickers.

  • Ivy Rose

    Anacostia HS is in Ward 7 not Ward 8