Unworthy Idea: Detriot Considers Jailing Parents Who Miss Parent-Teacher Meetings

Wayne County Prosecutor Kym Worthy is calling for a new law to criminally charge parents who miss their parent-teacher conferences. We have previously seen a few cities propose jailing parents. I have written previously on the over-criminalization of America and this is a prime example.


Worthy wants to decrease youth crime by forcing greater parental involvement at school. Not a bad idea, but I fail to see how throwing the parents in jail is going to achieve that objective.

Worthy would require parents to attend at least one conference per year or face three days in jail. Notably, however, if students were doing well, the parents would be exempt. That could lead to anger over the targeting of particular parents while exempting others.

The proposal has been criticized but Worthy stated “You can shoot the messenger, but I don’t care as long as the message gets out.” The “message,” however, seems to be that every social goal is now going to be converted into a criminal matter. Politicians increasingly feel that, if their particularly goal is really important, it must be expressed in criminal terms. The result is that citizens are being given criminal records that undermine their efforts to get jobs or function fully in society.

The lowest performing children statistically come from the most impoverished families. The result is that those parents will face a high degree of prosecution and will be given criminal records when they are already struggling in society.

This is not to excuse absent parenting. However, criminalization of social problems is a terrible option for policy planners. It is particularly problematic to see a prosecutor taking on school policy — extending the criminal code authority into social programs. There is ample real crime to be found in Wayne County without making the prosecutor’s office an extension of the school system or vice versa.

Source: Detriot News

Jonathan Turley

15 thoughts on “Unworthy Idea: Detriot Considers Jailing Parents Who Miss Parent-Teacher Meetings”

  1. I’m sure CCA will not only be willing to incarcerate those parents but will also provide campaign contributions to those elected officials who can supply the most customers.

  2. EVERYONE ELSE IS BEING HELD ACCOUNTABLE FOR STUDENT BEHAVIOR, PROGRESS AND ACADEMIC ACHIEVEMENT! NOW THE PARENTS ARE BEING HELD ACCOUNTABLE! PARENTS THAT DO THEIR “JOB” NO NEED TO WORRY BUT SOME PARENTS, FOR WHATEVER REASON, DO NOT CARE ABOUT THEIR CHILD’S LIFE AT SCHOOL! TEACHERS ARE CONSIDERED BABY-SITTERS, NOT FOR ALL BUT SOME YES DEFINITELY!! OF COURSE THERE WILL BE CERTAIN GUIDELINES! WHY WOULDN’T A PARENT SPEND AT LEAST 1 HOUR TALKING WITH THEIR CHILD’S TEACHER EACH MONTH?? THIS IS NOT RIDICULOUS FOR A RESPONSIBLE AND CARING PARENT. THERE IS EMAIL, SKYPE, ETC… CHILDREN ARE AT SCHOOL 7-10 HOURS A DAY, WITH AFTER CARE AND SPECIAL ACTIVITIES. DO YOU NOT CARE ABOUT WHAT IS GOING ON DURING THIS LARGE PORTION OF THEIR DAY ESPECIALLY IF YOUR CHILD IS HAVING PROBLEMS ACADEMICALLY AND/OR HAVING BEHAVIOR ISSUES, TO MEET WITH A TEACHER??? TEACHERS ARE LOSING THEIR JOBS BECAUSE STUDENTS DO NOT MEET STANDARDS AND EXCEL. NO ONE CAN TELL ME THE ONLY PROBLEM IS THE TEACHER! SO WHY ARE WE BEARING MOST OF THE WEIGHT OF ACCOUNTABILITY!!?? PLEASE SPREAD THIS IDEA AND REASONING ACROSS THE NATION!!!

  3. I live here in Detroit. I care about my child’s education which is why I chose to have my child go to suburban charter schools. Even now, as my child is a senior in High school, I never regretted it. I consider Ms. Worthy’s idea unenforceable. I knew a teacher in the city who told me of a conference where only 2 parents came in. You cannot cure bad parenting by force. Only by educating parents on how they can help.

  4. Scool is already an 8 hour a day prison for children who have done nothing wrong. Why not toss their parents in jail too for a few days to see if it’ll straighten this whole school system out?

  5. Something people should be known is that every since Bush and his no child left behind the state has stated a thing called the M.E.A.P. which is a standardized testing procedure for every school district and individual schools to pass. The city of Detroit is facing a state take over if it does not get its students up to par…so this is kind of like an educational bankruptcy take over….

    Thank you John Engler…. for the M.E.A.P. Thank you George for the additional unfunded Federal Mandate, Title IX no child left behind…..

    Your legacy should prove so beneficial to an attack on the Teacher Unions…oh no it was not that it was the Insurance Dollars that the Teacher paid in…that you sought for your donors….screw the AFT and NEA….all in the name of the dollars, it was never about the child…it was to bust the Unions and get the money that was used to pay for insurance….just like the Iraq war…..Oil Dollars…there will be some casualties but in the long term its that gloried dollar…..

  6. If you look at what it takes for a parent to actually do jail time, you will see that this is more of a tactic to get parent’s attention to do the right thing. The author of the bill documents many other laws that govern parenting and says that she wants schooling to have equal status.

    I have seen too many parents that should have been jailed, but they weren’t breaking any criminal laws, only moral ones.

  7. While I agree this is going to far, as a former teacher I am glad to see the blame being placed on the parents and not the teachers. Public schools provide a valuable service for society but much of the cries for school reform yells about teachers failing the system. I believe the parents are getting away without taking any significant heat. I have sat in many parent meetings or calls, when you had a working number, when parents have said they can’t do anything with their child and we had to fix them. Public schools must educate everyone, gang bangers, 17 year old kids pregnant with their third child, kids that are only there to keep the police off their backs and the teachers are the ones that get blamed. She may be over reaching and may be misguided but let’s start making parents responsible for their kids. How about a fine if they miss three appointments? If you start charging them then they will start showing up and make sure their employer is responsible for not allowing them to attend, like jury duty. No business is going to collapse because a parent attends a parent teacher conference once a year. If they punish the employee, then make sure they pay a big fine as well.

  8. My god, this is the day for bizarre stories … the responsibility to provide public education has been met, those who refuse to take advantage of that education are on their own …

  9. Hey, in Michigan a parent can go to jail for a child not attending school…so that is a logical step in this case…just jail the child…sterilize them so they don’t breed and then you don’t have these problems….Oh…some court case said you couldn’t do that….damn…then I suppose we do in fact need to legislate morality and status crimes….damn…double damn…

  10. “Worthy wants to decrease youth crime by forcing greater parental involvement at school. Not a bad idea, but I fail to see how throwing the parents in jail is going to achieve that objective.”

    ******************

    Ah, the meanderings of the mind that lead one to conclude that you can reduce crime by creating more criminal conduct. Does she want to “save a village,” too?

  11. Overreach much, Ms. Worthy? What’s next for Detroit? The mattress tag police gearing up for some beat downs?

    I’d have to respond to such a threat with a resounding, “You raise your kids, I’ll raise mine and if you have a problem with that, you can go fornicate yourself.”

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