policing parents

We can deregulate every industry everywhere and declare corporations are people, too, but families have fewer rights and increasing regulation by schools. We may not need to regulate corporations -- we have a Congressman surveying businesses for regulations they dislike --- but I guess we need to tightly regulate families since bad parents are the cause of all our economic and social problems.

A post up at Huff Post about more truancy policing of parents by the schools and the move to make parents face jail time if they miss a school conference.

In this second video, the speaker emphasizes this fact, that parents can go to jail if their children do not attend schools. She is quite right about this. She understands the policing power of the schools and seeks to use it to deal with some problems her area is having with school conferences. It is a logical approach but it is wrong. It is yet another example of how compulsory attendance laws create bad policy choices and ultimately control how we shape the social service we call schools. And one of the greatest problems created by compulsory attendance laws is this policing mentality and the factory model: both are fundamentally incompatible with a social service providing learning services for children and families. The long-term effects are clearest in the US .

Because of compulsory attendance laws, schools have police powers and police. This is a problem and it creates a mindset that runs deep. It is a structural issue that cannot be overcome by any sort of clever strategy.

Every homeschooler usually knows that there are agencies that can investigate and deal with any family whom anyone suspects is not a proper parent. If abuse or neglect is suspected, anyone anywhere can report a family. So the state does have a way to deal with families who are inadequate parents or a danger to the child. The schools do not have to provide that particular function.

But for schools to step up their policing arm is a problem in a service that should be about learning and working with families. While putting this law into effect may seem like small change, it only increases the coercive and authoritarian methods of schools who now use the threat to achieve their goals. Schools wil only spend so long attempting to resolve the dropout issue before they invoke their police powers. This means problems are never solved.

Another example of this: the demand for doctor's excuses for a sick child; good parents are forced into this routine as some sort of supposed guard against bad parents. It is expensive, inefficient and discriminatory. It means a parent cannot treat a minor illness for more than 3 days without a doctor's ok.  The tiny number of sick days allotted to kids is indicative of the authoritarian, workhouse approach.  I believe the small amount of sick time that a child can take away from school is a major reason for excessive antibiotic usage.

Mainstream parents need to understand that this invasion by the school system of families is counterproductive and unncessary. That in fact, compulsory attendance laws are outdated, militaristic, and have no place in a 21st century, democratic system. They warp the purpose and function of schools.

Schools that were voluntary and service-based would mean parents would be free to get more involved which they cannot now due to the policing and harassment they face from schools who maintain truancy police. There would be choices generated that cannot be made available unless we have this fundamental change to our so-called public system.

In the meantime, families beware.

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