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Sometimes, School Is Not Priority

March 25, 2012
Mike Myer , The Intelligencer / Wheeling News-Register

More parents ought to be threatened with fines and other court sanctions for failing to send their children to school. Too many mothers and fathers just don't understand the importance of education and/or are too irresponsible to tell their children to go to class and hit the books.

That said, is it possible we're not doing enough to help a few parents - often single mothers - with the task?

Last week in Kanawha County, Judge Duke Bloom came down hard on three mothers who haven't been sending their children to school. I'm not questioning Bloom in the least.

But all three women seem to have been stuck with raising families on their own. One became a widow about a year ago.

One woman said her son has missed school because of ear infections and asthma. She just hasn't bothered to get doctors' excuses.

Another said her daughter has missed a lot of school because of illness and "a severe case of head lice." A third explained her child has a severe MRSA infection.

Now, I have no doubt Bloom has heard some of this before. Some of the excuses no doubt aren't valid. Some may be made up out of whole cloth.

But it's possible a few parents - especially single moms and dads - are just overwhelmed. Putting bread on the table and a roof over the family's heads, along with keeping oneself and the kids reasonably healthy and out of trouble, may be all a woman can handle.

That really is no excuse. Sending the kids to school actually can lighten the load on a parent. You know that. I know that. And yes, school is critically important.

And yes, many single parents - including some in far worse straits than most judges see in truancy cases - make it all happen. They send their children to school and check on their homework.

But we're not all that strong.

Yes, school truant officers and judges should continue coming down hard on parents who allow their children to miss school. At the same time, they ought to have every tool needed at their disposal to help parents who are under water in raising families.

They do have some options, of course. But it might be worthwhile to determine whether more help could be made available.

Myer can be reached at: Myer@news-register.net.

 
 

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