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10 Dec, 2008 13:51

Parents of truants face jail

Parents of truants face jail

A bill aimed at reducing truancy has been proposed in the UK. If the bill is passed, parents who intentionally allow their children to skip classes could face a £1000 ($US 1,500) fine or up to three months in prison.

The proposed law has met with harsh criticism. The Liberal Democrats, Britain’s second largest opposition party, said fines and court action are not a deterrent to truancy.

Christine Bower, General Secretary of The National Union of Teachers agrees. “There is a hard core of truants that don't see fines and prisons as a threat,” she said. “There's only one effective way of solving this. That is by understanding social and economic problems that truants' families are under. Penalties will only cause more problems.”

The Department of Education has admitted that imprisonment is an extreme measure and said it would only be used in cases where all other means have been exhausted, adding that the government “will always cooperate” with parents.

There has been a marked increase in days of truancy since 2006. According to the Department of Children, Schools and Families, 58,000 more children would have been in school today if the number of truant children was the same as ten years ago.

Nikita Kosmin for RT