Child abuse comes in many varieties. Allowing children to be chronically truant from school - while certainly not as upsetting and serious as some other varieties of abuse - is one of them.
Too many children who are hooked on truancy drop out of school before earning diplomas. That condemns most of them to lives of deprivation, in comparison to peers whose parents understand the value of education.
A Kanawha County judge took severe action in a truancy case this week. Judge Duke Bloom sentenced a woman to five days in jail and ordered her to pay $210 in fines and court costs.
The woman's daughter has missed 47 days of school this year. After the first 31 days, she and 18 other parents of truant children were taken to court and given strong warnings. The woman was sentenced to community service and told to get her daughter to school.
She failed to do that, prompting Bloom to send her to jail. "I don't know what it's going to take to get your attention," he said.
That ought to do it - and perhaps it will have a sobering effect on other parents throughout the state who scoff at the mandatory school attendance law.
Each case of truancy is different, of course. But if it takes jail to end this form of child abuse, other judges should consider it.