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When parents are punished for children's school absences, who suffers?

Parents are sometimes prosecuted or jailed for children's truancy. (Seth Perlman/AP)
Parents are sometimes prosecuted or jailed for children's truancy. (Seth Perlman/AP)

It’s widely known that absenteeism from school has been on the rise since the pandemic. According to some studies, it’s nearly doubled. And while the absences are caused by a wide range of reasons, some of them are beyond the child’s or parents’ control according to people who study the issue.

These are cases where there’s housing insecurity, a lack of transportation or an illness where the family has no doctor from whom to get a note. In some states a child’s truancy results in parents  — often single mothers — being prosecuted and jailed.

Here & Now host Robin Young talks to Johns Hopkins University School of Education professor Robert Balfanz about the criminalization of absenteeism and the consequences for students and parents.

 

This article was originally published on WBUR.org.

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