Wane County Prosecutor Kym Worthy is sending shock waves through Detroit Public Schools and the media with her recommendation to jail parents who consistently don’t show up for school conferences. We already have a world that is lead by fear. How will jailing parents encourage them to become positively and genuinely involved in their child’s development? And how will it teach children the importance of having a parent that is actively present in their life if they are taken away for any amount of time?
There are more productive ways that the tax dollars that will be going towards this program could be used to increase the involvement of adults in a child’s education. Instead of sending the parents to jail, perhaps they should require the parents and children to attend family counseling or meet with a social worker about improving the relationship. If the issue is money for transportation of babysitting, the schools could give parents a stipend to attend school conferences. If the issue is a lack of a parent-figure in a child’s life, then perhaps more tax dollars need to be used for mentoring programs. Mentor’s could then attend school conferences on behalf of the parents.
Leading by fear may seem like the more aggressive and effective solution for the short-term, but there is no sustainability in the long-run to implement a program like this. The negative ramifications could be more harming to the child in the end. The possibility of jail time may only further fuel negative energy in parent’s that are already unmotivated. There is a very real possibility that that negative energy could be physically reciprocated upon the child. Whereas, implementing programs to positively impact the relationship between the parents, child, and school will have a lasting impact on the development of the child’s education.
I respect Wothy’s bold statement to get people to notice an issue that plagues Detroit public schools. But we must challenge that ‘notice’ into favorable action. Our children deserve positive support if we are going to reform Detroit Public Schools.