Detroit prosecutor: Parents who don’t attend parent/teacher conferences should go to jail

Posted by: ST on October 20, 2010 at 5:58 pm

The Detroit News reports on how Wayne County prosecutor Kym Worthy is trying to combat youth crime: by making it a crime for parents of underperforming students to not attend parent/teacher conferences. So many things wrong with this story:

Detroit — Wayne County Prosecutor Kym Worthy is pushing for a law that calls for jail time for parents who skip parent-teacher conferences, a plan some call inspired and others consider the nanny state run amok.

Worthy pitched her plan Tuesday to the Detroit City Council and is shopping it to the Wayne County Commission and state Legislature. Drawing a link between parental involvement and youth crime, Worthy wants a sponsor to guide the idea to law.

Her plan would require parents to attend at least one conference per year or face three days in jail. Parents of those excelling in school would be exempt, as would those whose health issues make travel difficult and those “actively engaged” with teachers through e-mail, phone calls or letters.

“We have to find any means necessary to get parents involved,” Worthy told the council. “We have to start talking about prevention.

“Some children don’t have a chance the day they are born.”

Worthy staffers said the proposed law would be the first in the nation. She said she prefers a statewide law, but would start with a city or countywide one.

No legislation is pending in the state House, county commission or council, but the proposal is generating plenty of talk — and controversy.

Wayne County Commissioner Laura Cox, R-Livonia, said Worthy’s intentions are admirable but the prospect of jailing parents is “inappropriate on a lot of levels.” A colleague, Kevin McNamara, D-Canton Township, said he feared a law would become a “tattletale version of pin the tail on the bad parent.”

“The question is, ‘How much government do I want in my life?'” McNamara said. “The reality is it would be an unenforceable mandate that we don’t have time to do.”

Daniel Lessard, a Livonia Public Schools board member, called the plan “the dumbest idea I’ve ever heard in my life.”

Well, there was that one time Democrats in the Michigan state house proposed a bill mandating that every child in Michigan be given a “free” iPod, but I digress …

I know it’s got to be frustrating for concerned teachers to not have parents show up for parent/teacher conferences, just like it’s got to be frustrating for an overworked prosecutor to see repeat youth offenders day after day in the courtroom. But Worthy’s “solution” is most definitely not the answer. In fact, her “by any means necessary approach is downright frightening and sets up a system where legislators, bureaucrats, and other busybodies get to decide who is being a “proper parent” regarding their child’s education and who isn’t. Can you imagine the “checklist” that would be put in place to make this determination? Can you imagine how annoying it would be for the Detroit PD to have to go to the home of a private citizen and arrest them on grounds that they didn’t attend a parent/teacher conference?

Some inconvenient facts:

1) You will always have parents out there who do not and would not attend a parent/teacher conference even at gunpoint.   This is reality and it won’t change.

2) The primary cause of repeat youth crime is not because a parent won’t attend a parent/teacher conference. Family economic factors play a big role. If you have a mother and father who have relatively secure, decent paying jobs and can provide and care for their family, the likelihood of their children growing up to become repeat offenders decreases substantially. The family structure also plays a big role. It is not even arguable that stable two-parent family homes are the ideal environment to raise happy, healthy, productive members of society. Often, poor families consist of only one parent who is either struggling to make ends meet on a meager income working multiple odd jobs with little time to spare for anything or anyone else, or who is “working the system” and setting a poor example for their child.

What Detroit the state of Michigan ought to consider doing before it is too late to save the dying city of Detroit is to make the state alot more business-friendly – and on top of the list of things to do to make it so would be to offer tax breaks across the board for businesses small AND large so as to attract investors, sue the federal government so the state can try to get out of the business-stifling ObamaCare mandate, and abandon the whole corrupt “union” concept, which has a stranglehold there (Detroit could really use its own Gov. Christie). Do that, and the jobs will come.

On top of that, if the state wants to spend taxpayer money so bad (and you know they do), they can use that money to air PSAs and promote other pro-family values initiatives that discourage casual sex and “hook-ups” – which lead to illegitimacy and poverty, and instead promote the positive example of committed relationships and the two-parent family. Also, they could (gasp) promote vouchers and neighborhood schools. The cries of raaaacism would be loud, of course, but that’s an obstacle that could eventually be overcome with persistence and patience to educate people on the benefits of it.

Really, this isn’t rocket science. But, as with every other issue under the sun, liberals rarely come up with workable solutions to fix the problems their social policies helped enable. Their way of “solving” things? Throwing more money at problems and hoping that will fix them and/or enacting even MORE legislation that takes even more control out of the hands of the individual and puts an ever-increasing amount of power in the hands of state and federal government — which is exactly why the problems got so out of control in the first place.

Hmmm. “Liberal solutions.” Kinda sounds like an oxymoron, doesn’t it?

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10 Responses to “Detroit prosecutor: Parents who don’t attend parent/teacher conferences should go to jail”


  1. your mama says:

    And they wonder why Detroit and the surrounding counties are in the straights they are in. If it wasn’t so tragic it would be funny.
    Hopefully Mich will finally see the light and vote republican and let the adults run the show.

  2. kd says:

    I know there are a lot of teachers in the Detroit area system that have wanted to at least be able to say “put the lazy frickers in jail” for years, and I can understand why. It’s incredibly frustrating to see kids day after day that are more mature adults than their parents — or are forced to play that role, in any event. But for a prosecutor??? Cheeznrice.

    ST, you’re dead on.

    Born and raised in the Motor City and busy crying in the corner because after 40 years they still haven’t learned,
    — kd

  3. Lilypie says:

    Now a days you don’t have to feed your kids. School will take care of it, no problem. You better show up for conferences or you get jailed?

    How about getting jailed for not feeding your kids!

  4. That is truly asinine. No surprise when it comes from Michigan, which the one state that might actually be worse off than Nevada.

    And no they won’t go Republican with all the unions in that state. Duh…

  5. Carlos says:

    This Kym Worthy must be the product of 1) a public-funded education and 2) probably an affirmative action education at that.

    ‘Course, in Detroit that’s probably a plus.

  6. Jo says:

    Well, at least they are working on a way to transport these derelict parents to the conferences on the light rail to nowhere:


  7. david foster says:

    Under leftism, all problems eventually become matters for the police.

  8. Steve Hussein Skubinna says:

    One of the salient characteristics of a totalitarian state is that anything not prohibited is compulsory.

  9. JS says:

    Want to increase parent involvement in public schools? Easy: alter the funding model. Take away the property tax subsidies and force parents to pay user fees per month, quarter, or year.

    Parents aren’t involved now because it’s “free.” When they see a direct cost, the schools will have to fight to keep them out. Another benefit: schools will have to compete on price, quality, and focus of education.

  10. C.c. says:

    unbelievable, as a single parent that works for a living and needs the paycheck to support my children, this stupidity needs to think about more than just themselves and getting government money. This kind of asinine politics is one of the reasons why we have ridiculous lawsuits.