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$70 fine if a child misses school


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#1 amabanana

Posted 11 February 2013 - 08:46 AM

QUOTE
Parents who cannot come up with a good reason why their child missed school face a $70 fine from next year in Victoria.

News Limited says the crackdown is aimed at parents whose children are absent without a reasonable excuse for more than five days in a year and who won't co-operate with the school to improve attendance.

Excuses such as taking the child shopping, visiting friends or relatives or other leisure activities won't cut it with the Department of Education, which will be issuing the penalties.

The paper says that currently, problem parents who let their children miss school must be taken to court in order for a fine to be issued but no one has been pursued under the existing legislation.


Here is the article.

What do you think?

#2 noi'mnot

Posted 11 February 2013 - 08:50 AM

I think it's stupid. Addressing the reasons for school non-attendance would be much more useful than forcing parents to pay fines.

#3 FeralBob!

Posted 11 February 2013 - 08:54 AM

Exactly. Helping people address the reasons why they think that school is less important than other activities would be a far more sensible way of addressing chronic absenteeism.

#4 Therese

Posted 11 February 2013 - 08:56 AM

I also think it is a stupid idea. Looking at the big picture and trying to address the reasons some families have low attendance levels seems like a much better thing to do.



#5 RealityBites

Posted 11 February 2013 - 08:56 AM

We are every day school attendees and I still think it's stupid. I am still the parent. Also fairly hypocritical when I was reading an article on the weekend about homeschooling and how so many children in Australia are not even 'in the system' at all.
And how are they chasing up money from lower income earners, or neglectful parents who just CBF?

#6 EssentialBludger

Posted 11 February 2013 - 08:57 AM

I think it would primarily be aimed at those cases that already have DOCS involvement and parents who just don't GAF about their child's education. In which case I think the idea has merit.

I don't think the general population of loving parents need to worry too much.

#7 lilmissmars

Posted 11 February 2013 - 08:57 AM

I think it's fine. But then again my son only missed 4 days of school last year with genuine health reasons not to go.

I actually know people who have let their kids miss school so they (the parent) could have a sleep in. I am certain they would not do this in a fit if it would start costing them money as a repercussion!

#8 Persnickety_

Posted 11 February 2013 - 08:58 AM

I think it is a terrible idea, in my experience the kids that have the most unexplained absences from school come from the families least likely to be able to pay $70 fines.

#9 noi'mnot

Posted 11 February 2013 - 08:59 AM

QUOTE (EssentialBludger @ 11/02/2013, 09:57 AM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
I think it would primarily be aimed at those cases that already have DOCS involvement and parents who just don't GAF about their child's education. In which case I think the idea has merit.

I don't think the general population of loving parents need to worry too much.



So how is a fine going to help here? How is that going to make these parents cooperate with the school so that their children get an education? It's not going to make them GAF about their child's education, it's going to make them p*ssed off at the school!!!

#10 TenYears

Posted 11 February 2013 - 09:06 AM

How's that going to work?  It doesn't take that much nouse to write 'explosive dihorrea' on the form rather than 'we took the day off to watch DVDs and play'.

And yeah, there'd be no extending that nation wide, as there are communities where student attendence rate is as low as 53% (according to some random trawling through MySchool, so there are probably lower ones I just didn't find). That would be a whole lot of taking parents to court in towns that don't even have a full time court house.

#11 Mini_feral

Posted 11 February 2013 - 09:07 AM

QUOTE (noi'mnot @ 11/02/2013, 09:59 AM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
So how is a fine going to help here? How is that going to make these parents cooperate with the school so that their children get an education? It's not going to make them GAF about their child's education, it's going to make them p*ssed off at the school!!!


They might not GAF about their children's education, but I bet they care about their cash. I don't think its such a bad idea.

#12 Caramel Latte

Posted 11 February 2013 - 09:09 AM

It takes a lot to get there, before fine is given (if anything like NSW).

*if child misses 80% of school, without sufficient reason (ie medical certificate etc), then school is obliged to inform the Ed dept.
*Ed dept then refer to a homeschool liaison officer (this ISN'T anything to do with "homeschool", just (in their words "a fancy title)). HLO is there to assist parents and students, get attendance up.
* HLO will then set out a plan to ensure attendance is on track. If child and Parent don't stick to plan and attendance isn't up, then it's referred further and this is where they can enforce the fine.

I'm on fence regarding the fine. It may help push the parents but if child has issues, fining the parent won't help.

#13 EssentialBludger

Posted 11 February 2013 - 09:11 AM

QUOTE (minimae @ 11/02/2013, 09:07 AM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
They might not GAF about their children's education, but I bet they care about their cash. I don't think its such a bad idea.


Exactly. I imagine in cases where child protection is already involved, they would have already tried to help get the kids off to school. I see it as a last resort type thing and the families would be warned they would be fined if they failed to send their kids to school. Maybe the threat of losing money would be enough?

Like I said, I really don't think the majority of parents who give their kid the odd day off with a lame reason have anything to worry about. They just wouldn't be able to police it. It's not aimed at you.

#14 FeralBob!

Posted 11 February 2013 - 09:12 AM

Lol, yes Sassy Girl. Speeding tickets are obviously Just So Yesterday in the revenue stakes laugh.gif

And how much is this going to cost to implement? Will we be taking up court time and resources  just to get $70 back off people? What if they refuse to pay?

I just can't help thinking that we need to engage with people who are having issues sending their kids to school rather than penalising them. Possibly some of those parents have less than positive memories of their own school days. Maybe the kids are being bullied and the schools response has been less than ideal. Surely there is a better, more productive alternative shrug.gif

#15 spottyladybug

Posted 11 February 2013 - 09:14 AM

If there is some kind of consqence for kids missing school, then those kids most at risk are more likely to have their parents pay more attention and perhaps even work with the school to address the issue.
Without a 'reason' to make the kid go to school the kids just stay home because the parents don not see an issue with non attendence. I think that there probably needs to be an out for not paying the fine if the parents work with the school to rectify  the problem.
Students missing school is frustrating for us teachers, other students and administration.

#16 blackbird

Posted 11 February 2013 - 09:15 AM

QUOTE (Desiree Farfalla @ 11/02/2013, 10:09 AM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
It takes a lot to get there, before fine is given (if anything like NSW).

*if child misses 80% of school, without sufficient reason (ie medical certificate etc), then school is obliged to inform the Ed dept.
*Ed dept then refer to a homeschool liaison officer (this ISN'T anything to do with "homeschool", just (in their words "a fancy title)). HLO is there to assist parents and students, get attendance up.
* HLO will then set out a plan to ensure attendance is on track. If child and Parent don't stick to plan and attendance isn't up, then it's referred further and this is where they can enforce the fine.

I'm on fence regarding the fine. It may help push the parents but if child has issues, fining the parent won't help.



I think in a case where the child has issues then that is a ligit reason for absence showing the child need help in some way? if used correctly the parent shouldn't be fined. I think its more about parents who care more about themselves than their child, money talks I'm afraid.

#17 Cat People

Posted 11 February 2013 - 09:17 AM

Stupid, idiotic and pointless.

And if they don't pay?  Is jail the next step?

Pathetic.

#18 Cat People

Posted 11 February 2013 - 09:19 AM

QUOTE (blackbird @ 11/02/2013, 10:15 AM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
I think its more about parents who care more about themselves than their child, money talks I'm afraid.



You really think a parent who doesn't GAF about their child's education or welfare is going to pay a fine?  


#19 désir d'amour

Posted 11 February 2013 - 09:20 AM

Given that in one instance last year, there was a child in Grade 1 turning up to school less than one day per fortnight, I would support any measures that would get him to school and give him even half a chance at a decent education.

Obviously, carrot first, but if you have to use a stick, then use it.

#20 noi'mnot

Posted 11 February 2013 - 09:20 AM

QUOTE (WingBob @ 11/02/2013, 10:12 AM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
I just can't help thinking that we need to engage with people who are having issues sending their kids to school rather than penalising them. Possibly some of those parents have less than positive memories of their own school days. Maybe the kids are being bullied and the schools response has been less than ideal. Surely there is a better, more productive alternative shrug.gif



Exactly. It's not about parents GAF about the $70 (if that's an amount of money that they have). It's going to be much more productive to engage with parents and develop positive relationships with their child's school. If a child is living in a situation where their parents truly don't GAF about their education, then the school might be the most stable and nurturing environment that they're exposed to - how about we nurture the whole family's exposure to this, rather than getting the parents p*ssed off with the school over $70???

I don't think that this fine has anything at all to do with regular parents who give their kids the odd lazy day at home - it's a short-sighted tactic which is all about penalising/punishing already disadvantaged and struggling families. Baillieu has already completely cut funding to one particular program (School Focussed Youth Services) designed to address these issues both at individual and whole of school levels, and he's just kicking these kids in the nads even harder with this "initiative".

#21 TenYears

Posted 11 February 2013 - 09:22 AM

QUOTE
It takes a lot to get there, before fine is given (if anything like NSW).

*if child misses 80% of school, without sufficient reason (ie medical certificate etc), then school is obliged to inform the Ed dept.
*Ed dept then refer to a homeschool liaison officer (this ISN'T anything to do with "homeschool", just (in their words "a fancy title)). HLO is there to assist parents and students, get attendance up.
* HLO will then set out a plan to ensure attendance is on track. If child and Parent don't stick to plan and attendance isn't up, then it's referred further and this is where they can enforce the fine.

I'm on fence regarding the fine. It may help push the parents but if child has issues, fining the parent won't help.


This doesn't work in every setting.  As I said above, there are schools in NSW where nonattendence is as high as 40%.  The bigger successes are rewards - things like breakfast programs and co-programs with the police where a kid gets a free bicycle once they have a reasonable stretch of regular attendence behind them.  These are the programs that get the attendence as high as 60% in these communities.

The parents don't give a damn about a $70 fine, because they don't have $70.  The fine may as well be a million dollars, or a captive leprichaun for all the sense it makes.

#22 **Xena**

Posted 11 February 2013 - 09:52 AM

Two Words- Bandaid Solution.

Freaking ridiculous and hardly likely to help the child or the family.

#23 amabanana

Posted 11 February 2013 - 09:54 AM

Apparently I'm not the only one who thinks it's a terrible idea.

I fear the families who can least afford it will be the ones targeted with this fine.  IMO the Gov. should spend the money that this scheme will cost them in administration/court time for those who can't/refuse to pay and spend it on trying to help those kids/give them incentives to attend.  
There is currently scope for fining parents and it hasn't been used.   Why not just use the current legislation if they are that keen on the idea?

Will be 'interesting' to see if this goes ahead.

#24 Caramel Latte

Posted 11 February 2013 - 09:58 AM

QUOTE (Eight.years @ 11/02/2013, 10:22 AM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
This doesn't work in every setting.  As I said above, there are schools in NSW where nonattendence is as high as 40%.  The bigger successes are rewards - things like breakfast programs and co-programs with the police where a kid gets a free bicycle once they have a reasonable stretch of regular attendence behind them.  These are the programs that get the attendence as high as 60% in these communities.

The parents don't give a damn about a $70 fine, because they don't have $70.  The fine may as well be a million dollars, or a captive leprichaun for all the sense it makes.


I agree but my post was basically the process it takes (in the area I am in and regarding the schools in the area, I can't talk for all of NSW). It's not that your child has 40% attendance and then you're fined...they have a process in between.

Here the HLOs offer rewards but more along the lines of Macca's breaky vouchers. They (HLO) will also drop off / pick up if the parent has any issues getting them to school (this includes if child flat out refuses to go). They first step is to work with families and if that fails its Court/DOCs.

I've seen a child go from 20% attendance to 100% because a HLO got the school to deal with bullying, another to 95%, by just having them tested. It works more when the families are worked with but tho there are a few where this hasn't worked with, I'm not personally aware of them.

Part I'm on fence with, is fining parents (if gets to that points), really going to help? I don't really think so but if everything else has been tried (rewards, assistance etc), what else can be done?

#25 TenYears

Posted 11 February 2013 - 10:07 AM

QUOTE
They first step is to work with families and if that fails its Court/DOCs.


Yes I've seen this process in play.  It is par for the course in some communities, as much as possible given staffing limitations.   However the limitations are high, as staff turnover is high and the opportunities to build long term trust relationships simply aren't there.  

And then on top of that there's the sheer scale of the nonattendance.  When nonattendance on a schoolwide level is 40% even with those measures in place, you cannot take that number of children away, or take that number of parents to court without throwing a virtual grenade into the already extremely tenuous state-community relationship.






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