Alaska School District To Charge Parents Of Absent Children Criminally

Cropped view of woman wearing handcuffs

Because they’re not our kids, you see, they’re the government’s. We’re just the babysitters, criminally liable when we don’t abide by the government’s child-rearing plan, apparently.

KOTZEBUE, Alaska – Teachers and school administrators in northwest Alaska have warned the parents of frequently truant children that they can be charged with a misdemeanor if the students continue to miss class.

Northwest Arctic Borough School District Superintendent Norman Eck said the district is trying to lift its sagging attendance numbers, KOTZ-FM reported.

“We were very worried about certain students not attending very often,” Eck said.

The district has about 88 percent average attendance. Eck said a successful school usually has at least 95 percent attendance.

The misdemeanor charge is contributing to the delinquency of a minor, and is considered a final step.

Obviously, these parents should get their kids to school (though to be fair the fact that the district is in extremely rural, arctic Alaska may have something to do with attendance), but does anyone really think that making the parents criminals is going to help the situation?

I’m guessing that parents who are having troubles getting their kids to school are probably having other problems too, and making them criminals is only going to exacerbate the problem. I also don’t like the precedent this sort of law sets. If you’re not a good parent, in the way the government defines good parenting, you’re going to charged criminally?

That’s not a road we should want to go down, no matter how good the intentions.

Rob Port

Rob Port is the editor of In 2011 he was a finalist for the Watch Dog of the Year from the Sam Adams Alliance and winner of the Americans For Prosperity Award for Online Excellence. In 2013 the Washington Post named SAB one of the nation's top state-based political blogs, and named Rob one of the state's best political reporters.

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