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Truancy: Do the parents deserve to be jailed?

Four boys playing truant

Should it be the parents who get the blame for their child bunking off? Matt Allwright went out on patrol with Liverpool's Truancy Watch team.

In the last few years tough penalties have been imposed in the fight against truancy, with parents being jailed if their kids persistently fail to attend school.

Matt met Rose who was jailed for 14 days because her son refused to go to school. She now has a criminal record and feels she was punished instead of her son.

Since 2002, there have only 130 cases in England and Wales where the parents of persistant truants have ended up behind bars, compared to tens of thousands of prosecutions.

But many people feel it's the role of the parent to know where their child is at all times and to force them to go to school.

Not so, says Professor Ken Reid who's been monitoring the nation's truancy problem for many years. He's come across plenty of cases where parents just can't control their teenagers.

And the figures seem to support this. Despite the threat of jail for parents the numbers still keep rising. Each day some 60,000 children play truant - the highest statistic in a decade.

Professor Reid told Matt,"there is no evidence that jailing parents is stopping the large numbers of children who are truanting at the moment".

But what do you think? Should parents be held responsible for their child's truancy? What's the solution?

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