Mother jailed for children's truancy

Mother jailed for children's truancy

A woman has become the first parent in the country to be jailed for allowing her children to play truant.
Patricia Amos, 43, was sentenced to 60 days' imprisonment for not sending her two daughters to secondary school.
The landmark case was brought by Oxfordshire County Council in a wrangle that has lasted two years.
… until now, parents who have failed to ensure their children attend school regularly have been punished only with hefty fines.
[Education Secretary Estelle Morris] has called on parents to take more responsibility for their children's attendance and behaviour.
'All the hard work schools have put in goes to waste if children do not go to school, stay there, pay attention and learn' she said. 'My message to parents is that we need them to play their part.'
The Education Secretary has also announced that she is extending the use of parenting orders, which force couples to curb their youngsters' unruliness in school by attending classes on discipline.
(from article in Daily Mail, Saturday 11 May, 2002)

What a wicked society we live in by now! No one is suggesting jailing or persecuting the teachers at the school or the local education authority for damaging or even ruining the lives of those for whom they are responsible (over whom they have power).

What a substitute for education that people paid for with their own money, and didn't get forced on them if they didn't think it worth paying for!

Power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely, it has been said. In modern society, it is the agents of the collective who are absolutely powerful.

Neither Mensa nor the National Association 'for' Gifted Children is pressing for the age of majority to be related to IQ.

When I was at school I thought that a precocious person is in a particularly bad position if they know their own mind very clearly. Far from stimulating permissiveness in their oppressors, this only arouses a reactive desire to take advantage of their chronological inferiority to override and frustrate their plans and intentions.

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Comments on an article in Daily Mail of 23rd May, 2002, about Patricia Amos being released from jail on appeal. See how many dogmatic assumptions enter into the way the situation is described.

'Education officials will closely watch the attendance records of the two schoolgirls, seeking a marked improvement in their appalling registration rate over the last two years'.

What is appalling about non-attendance at a state boot camp? The girls may well be right, instinctively or deliberately, in thinking that their time is better spent away from the school. Maybe they are learning nothing there that will ever be of use to them, maybe they are being psychologically damaged. Many state school products enter life as demoralised criminals, saturated in resentment of commerce and middleclass values. Why should it be considered 'appalling' to fail to turn up for the prescribed number of hours of exposure to the treatment that results in such an outcome?

John Stuart Mill's father did not wish his son to attend school, meaning a highly moralised Victorian school for which he would be paying, saying that he did not wish his son to acquire habits of idleness. He would probably have wished, even more strongly, not to expose his son to the training in demoralisation and inefficiency provided by a modern state school.

Let me remind everyone of the basic moral principle, that one doesn't reduce the freedom of the individual to act as freely as his resources permit on his own evaluations of the existential situation in which he finds himself, by imposing on him arbitrary evaluations of one's own. It is immoral to impose on him, and force him to act on, judgements which he has not made for himself, such as, 'What goes on in schools is a good thing and better than any other use that any individual pupil might wish to make of his or her time, in furtherance of his or her aims and objects in life.'