A new law in California gives judges the option of sending parents back to school for training when their kids are convicted of gang-related crimes for the first time.
However, a new report suggests the parents in question aren’t thrilled with the court ordered classes. Moms and dads in neighborhoods rife with gang activity often work more than one job and struggle to stay current with rent and bills, which can mean they spend less time with their kids, who can in turn become too easily tempted by the sense of family frequently provided by a gang.
Going back to school on a Saturday to hear about the perils of drug use and the other inherent dangers of life on the streets isn’t how many apathetic or just plain busy parents want to be spending their days off, particularly if they don’t have cars and are forced to travel long distances to get to the few schools that currently offer the mandatory classes.
The Parent Accountability Act went into effect last January, but due to budget cuts, only started rolling out into classrooms over the past month, and only in Los Angeles County, which has about 80,000 gang members. Eventually the classes will spread to the rest of the state.
In the classes, the discussions include classic signs that can indicate to parents their kid has joined a gang, such as changes in musical tastes, tattoos and secretive behavior. Parents are also given suggestions on how to help their kids overcome the temptation to get more involved in gang activity, most notably by actually spending more time with their kids.
Some experts are troubled that parents are being sentenced by juvenile judges, not by juries, for crimes committed by their children. Nevertheless, truants run the risk of being held in contempt of court.
Quite frankly, I think parents of convicted gang members should be sprinting to these classes, and anywhere else that will help them save the lives of their children. And why not take it one step further and send parents of bullies to required lessons about how to teach their kids to be nicer and more tolerant, because clearly they didn’t do it well enough the first time. How are you apathetic to being the parent of a gang member? And how do you allow yourself to miss the signs of your kid’s criminal activity?
I know from busy, but I’d give up everything and live without a roof over my head or go hungry before I’d turn a blind eye or knowingly allow my offspring to commit crimes, get involved in hard drugs or even just pick on another kid.
How would you feel about being sentenced to school if your kid was convicted of a crime? Do you think parents of bullies should also be required to take parenting classes?