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Jail time for truancy? WTF? - Tactical Ninja

Apr. 26th, 2011

09:42 am - Jail time for truancy? WTF?

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Gotta love it when a man takes it upon himself to tell women how to address mismatched sex drives. Warning - if you're a woman who's ever suffered from this, the second paragraph is likely to make you want to either throw up or hit something. But this is, in fact, about when the man has lower sex drive and *surprise surprise* it's all about what you, as a woman, can do for him. Just like it's about what you can do for him when yours is the lower sex drive. At least in this guy's opinion it is, along with a healthy dose of "I know what women want".

Why, oh why do I click those links?

Although, I did get one thing from that page, which isn't rocket science but as a woman is also something not-so-much within my experience and therefore learning for me. The idea that men (I need to qualify this as 'a lot of men' because my social group = not representative of society at large) hardly ever get touched - a handshake here, a backslap there. And affectionate touching even less so. So while it's not an excuse, this goes some way to explaining why many men seem to equate affectionate touching with sex, and some assume that a woman touching them is an invitation for sexual contact. I guess if the only time you get touched affectionately is in a sexual context, it's a somewhat logical conclusion. However, the solution to this isn't MOAR SEX, it's MOAR AFFECTIONATE TOUCHING FOR MEN - outside of a sexual context.


I'm kind of gobsmacked at the number of people who think prison is a solution for the most broad array of things.

Take this for example. Turns out that in Baltimore, parents are getting jail time for their kids being truant. Granted the truancy has to be particularly bad (example kid was absent 103 of 130 days). But, putting the parent in jail? What does that solve? And why do so many people think jail time is appropriate for the 'crime' of not being able to force your 15 year old kid to attend school?

It blows me away. Murder? Jail! Tax evasion? Jail! Pot grower? Jail! Petty theft? Jail! Parent of a truant kid? JAIL 'EM! It's as if jail is the only possible way of dealing with any kind of deviance - and now it's ok to punish someone who's not even the 'perpetrator', by locking them up. The mother in this case has four kids at home, yet they still think sending her to jail for ten days is the best approach they can take?

WUT.

I remember a time when our government made noises about punishing parents with fines for tagging done by their kids. The Kid talked to me about this and I was all "Like hell I'm paying a fine for what you do." Which sounds cold-hearted and potentially irresponsible, but let's have a look at this.

I work full time. My hours are 8am to 4pm. I leave the house at 7am and get home around 5.

The Kid goes to school. His hours are 10:30am to 3:30pm. He leaves the house at 9:30am and gets home about 4:30pm.

So between 7am and 9:30am, and 4:30pm and 5pm, 5 days a week, I am not supervising him. This is ample time for him to get in trouble if he were that kind of kid. Would I be responsible for what he did while I was at work, given that the hours he attends school are not something I can control? Maybe I'm 'supposed' to get someone to watch him for that time. Maybe I'm 'supposed' to drive him to school and drop him off at 7:30am and hope he stays there till school starts three hours later. Maybe I'm supposed to be working a different job, one with hours that suit.

Oh wait. Anyone know of full time jobs going that start at 10:30am and finish at 3:30pm? Preferably sufficient of them for all working parents? No, me neither.

The average working day doesn't match the prescribed school day. This mismatch came about during the times when one parent worked and the other stayed home - it's based on an assumption that at least one of the kid's parents will be around to make sure the kid gets to school and is supervised afterwards. That setup stopped being the norm nearly 40 years ago - yet here we are, still juggling work hours with school hours. Employers have become more flexible around glide-time and the like (at least, some have - a lot of lower-paid jobs are completely inflexible and have even longer hours than mine). Schools, however, have not. The skyrocketing cost of daycare makes that not a viable solution for many parents - never mind that putting a 15 year old kid in daycare is a ridiculous concept.

And governments' solution to this is to punish the parents for what the kids do during this unsupervised time. I strongly suggest that there is more of a solution to be found in looking at school hours and making them more working-parent friendly. Working parents are not going away, and if kids are as important as the "Won't anybody think of the children" brigade keep trying to tell us they are, then setting up the situation to allow working parents to be there for their kids is a fucking sensible idea.

You know, I don't know if I'm getting crotchetier as I get older or if the world really is going to the dogs, but I'm finding more and more that certain laws are just stupid. And while I'd like to be a law-abiding citizen, often obeying the law requires me to compromise a principle that is important to my sense of personal integrity. And faced with that choice, I'm more likely to ignore the law than to ignore my integrity. I sometimes wonder what would happen if my kid tagged something and an attempt was made to fine me for it. Or if Warner Bros tried to fine me $15,000 for a copy of Supernatural that I downloaded and will buy on DVD as soon as it becomes available? How much soapboxing do you reckon I'd do? Would it be worth it? Because while the government has the power to punish me for breaking the law, they don't have the power to make me believe that the law is right.


Yesterday I painted a ceiling - first time ever. It involves, I have discovered, getting paint in my hair and on my glasses. This is part of the dollying up of the house in Tawa. Sadly, the market has done nothing but sink since we put it up for sale, and since other owners are offering 'better' houses for less money, we've been forced to pretty it up. We didn't want to do this because we felt that showing it 'as is' would demonstrate the basic soundness of the house and allow potential buyers to remodel however they saw fit. Unfortunately all it's done is make other houses look better. So, ceiling painting and deck-nailing and windowsill painting. On the upside, the house smells dry and warm, which will become a selling point as winter sets in.

Someone please buy our house!

Comments:

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From:fallaras
Date:April 25th, 2011 10:39 pm (UTC)

Always wonder, I mean worry...

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about people like him...
How can some one like that actually be respected over the long run?
His audience may be just the woman (by the sounds of it...I hope) - that's the only slim justification I can hope for for a nicely one sided skewed view... now where's the article written for the man..? To hopeful..? *sigh*

As for laws and making sense...
They haven't, to me, for years... and some of them didn't make sense when they where written to even the most casual thinker... But then they don't want us thinking... they want good obedient sheep that they can direct, bully, steal from, oppress and manipulate (all as official elected democratic leaders... cant be like those dictators after all... well like the bad ones that are either sitting on something we want - oil - or making a stink of suppressing there feed-up population, anyway...)

Stick with the principles... they at least make sense :p


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From:tatjna
Date:April 25th, 2011 10:43 pm (UTC)

Re: Always wonder, I mean worry...

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To be fair, the page I linked to was the 'girl game' section of a blog dedicated to using pickup-artist techniques within long term relationships, so there's plenty in there aimed at men as well.

I'm conflicted about the PUA concept. On one hand, it seems to hinge on a fallacious idea that women want powerful men and that men want compliant, physically attractive women - and the techniques often seem based in manipulation of the woman's self esteem. On the other hand, some of the better PUA people are encouraging men to focus on becoming complete, well-rounded people in order to overcome the neediness that's often at the base of inability to find a mate, and I can't fault the idea that improving yourself is a road to happiness.

I've only read a little of that guy's stuff and unfortunately he seems to lean toward the former.
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From:pleiadeslion
Date:April 26th, 2011 09:13 am (UTC)

Re: Always wonder, I mean worry...

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I'm conflicted about it too. One of my friends showed me something he learned from reading 'The Game'. I thought the conversation 'plan' itself was fantastic, just the opening hook was a bit sexist ('Excuse me, my friend and I need a female opinion on something...')

Female equivalents, which are more focused on acquiring and making LTRs work eg, Rori Raye, Mama Gena and The Rules, seem to also be a mix of 'encouraging [women] to focus on becoming complete, well-rounded people' and manipulative, sexist bullshit. Mama Gena contains the least amount of manipulative, sexist bullshit, I think. Sometimes I think Rori Raye and The Rules' idea of a great man sounds like a stalker to me.
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From:tatjna
Date:April 26th, 2011 09:25 am (UTC)

Re: Always wonder, I mean worry...

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I read The Game a couple of years ago. When I started I was looking for ammo to tear down the whole PUA concept, but by the time I finished I'd developed something of a respect for at least some of the base concepts. Neil Strauss is a very good writer imo, and he seemed very aware of the way in which once men gained confidence (which is probably the attractive thing rather than the lines and ploys), it stopped being about attracting women and started being about impressing other men. Which, I think, is where you get the self-professed pickup artists wanking on about what women want to other men. I read a comment today which was classic Big I Am PUA style:

"Women who want to learn LTR game should consult my wife, who is great at it. Here is the advice (I imagine she would give):

- Keep yourself in a great shape, so you'll look hotter at 40 than you did at 25.

- Grow long beautiful hair and learn to dress stylishly.

- Be up to date on latest events, trends, and ideas so you'll be on even footing with your husband and his friends.

- Get into a high-income line of work, so you'll bring that inco to marital table.

- Learn to give great blow jobs.


Note that all of the above will come handy for her if her marriage bombs despite her best efforts."


To which I go *vomit*
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From:pleiadeslion
Date:April 26th, 2011 09:54 am (UTC)
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It seems like that writer started with common sense but embellished it to the point that the list became about his personal Stepford Wife fantasy. For example, I think things like the following might build someone's confidence a lot and make it easier for them to attract and keep a partner:

- Get exercise and eat well
- Look after your body and value your appearance
- Explore your interests and keep learning and trying out new things ('new' here does not necessarily mean 'the latest' in this context)
- Get work that you find satisfying and that earns an income that supports the lifestyle you want, that way you won't be looking to a relationship to provide that satisfaction or income
- Enjoy giving and receive pleasure, and keep learning and exploring new ways to do this
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From:tatjna
Date:April 26th, 2011 10:20 am (UTC)
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Pretty much, yeah. Starts with good ideas, turns to 13 year old wanking fantasies real fast.
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From:thesecondcircle
Date:April 26th, 2011 01:32 am (UTC)
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One of the best thing we did when we sold our house in Minnesota was to replace all the light fixtures. We replaced them all with an inexpensive but decently attractive set from our local home store. The key was that they all matched and, while I was skeptical when our realtor suggested it, it really looked amazing.
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From:tatjna
Date:April 26th, 2011 01:35 am (UTC)
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The ones in this house come under the heading 'adorably kitsch'. Or perhaps 'ugly as fuck'.

But yeah, that might be worth a crack too, along with touching up trim and the like.
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From:clashfan
Date:April 26th, 2011 03:32 am (UTC)
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Okay, devil's advocate here: What would you do with a situation in which the kid won't come to school? In my state, if a student is absent 10 school days in a row, we must drop them from our rolls. We require a parent/guardian to come in to re-enroll them. We have a 9th grader who's been 10-day dropped at least twice this school year. We do all *kinds* of interventions. Phone calls? Home visits? Social services? Check, check, and check. Building a relationship with the student, so they'll have something positive at school? We do that, or try to. Suggest that an alternative school might suit the student better? We do that...we've had the school district's liaison to alt ed programs come to our building and meet with kids. We lose money when a kid enrolls somewhere else. But if the student will succeed better somewhere else, then that's where we want them to go.

Some government housing schemes for families require that school-age children be enrolled in school. It's also required for minors to get a learner's permit and driver's license. There is a small minority of kids who will deliberately show up once every nine days so they won't get dropped. Something is going on there, and it doesn't involve education.

Do we, as a society, believe that education is important? Obviously, yes. What do we do if the carrots we hold out are not sufficient to get students in the door? And the students are not interested in the carrots at the other place down the block? There must be some kind of stick. Or we are just saying, "Naw, we don't care if this kid doesn't come to school. We've done all we can; we wash our hands of him."

I will agree that jailing seems harsh. Possibly fines would be more appropriate. But you tell me. What do you do when nothing else has worked?
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From:tatjna
Date:April 26th, 2011 03:42 am (UTC)
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That is indeed the burning question.

I'm curious how punishing the parent will make the kid attend school. Who will ensure the kid goes to school while the parent is in jail? Never mind ensuring they are fed and housed properly? Will having spent 10 days in prison ensure the parent comes out and then proceeds to take the kid to school daily and walk them to the office to sign in? And if it does and the parent has miraculously managed to keep any job they had prior to being incarcerated, how will that work with their employment? Which is more important, the parent being employed or the kid being in school? If the answer is the kid, how does the parent then support the kid?

All of this of course does not answer your question. I do know a couple of things - my kid at 15 is taller than me by 8 inches and outweighs me by 30kg. Force is not an option. He is also reasonably biddable and not the type to lie, deflect or outright defy the requirement he go to school - I'm not likely to face this issue, and part of that I suspect comes from his upbringing, part his nature.

When I was running the youth course, I was working with kids who had been 'politely asked to leave school' for various reasons, one of which was truancy. The students were entitled to a payment for their costs - a small amount but enough to work as encouragement. They got paid for the number of days they attended. This helped, along with the fact that I'd call their house and their parents work if they didn't show, and in extreme cases we'd all pile into the van and I'd drive around and collect them. And absent mark = no pay for that day. Even with this, some did not attend regularly, and to be honest I really don't know what to do with those people. Often their parents were also at their wits end and at a loss.

But certainly offering that alternative system of education with incentives helped about 80% of the truancy cases I dealt with to complete their education.
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From:clashfan
Date:April 26th, 2011 01:36 pm (UTC)
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Your reply deserves a better response, and I will tonight, but it's 6.30 am and I Must Have Coffee to think properly. However, I did want to mention that (according to the original article) the parents does the ten days over five weekends. Less immediate trouble about work and childcare that way.

I understand that this does not address all of the negatives of this system.
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From:clashfan
Date:April 27th, 2011 04:39 am (UTC)
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In the States (at least, my corner of it), paying kids to come to school has fallen out of favor. I can't think of an alternative school in our district who does that. I agree that the idea has merit for kids who don't respond to other incentives, but it's not popular here at the moment. I've had kids ask about such things and had to tell them so.

As to whether the the parent going to jail really causes the kid to go to school, I think the *threat* is more effective than the event. If I recall from my read of it last night, the family in the story went to court three times before the mum was jailed. Only around a dozen parents in the last three years total have gone to jail for this. I think that standing in a courtroom and hearing a judge say, "Unless you get it together, your mother will spend ten days in the pokey," causes a change in behavior for most teens.

But only for most. I've known a couple of kids who wouldn't bat an eye. And I wonder what happened to them, what went wrong along the way for them to be like that at age 15.

We can't really 'politely ask' students to leave our school for truancy. We suggest alternative options--even, as I mentioned, bringing the alt ed guy to our school to interview kids. We call parents and ask them to come in, suggest to them that another setting might better suit their needs. But if they are adamant about attending our school, we can't disinvite them for truancy alone. It's a public school, and they have the right to attend until the age of 21.

I knew a guy (a long time ago, before I worked in education) who believed in the idea of fostering. Like, how nobles used to do it in medieval times. Send your kid to live with his aunt and uncle for a couple years. The kid would be with family who loved him, but without much of the inherent conflicts that many kids have with *parents*. It's easier in some ways for an auntie to tell a kid to clean up his mess and do the dishes without it turning into a battle. Some families do this in our community--lots of unofficial 'fostering'. Not sure if I could say whether there's a measurable effect on behaviors, including school attendance.

Sorry, just rambling now. Long day at work today. Thanks for letting me rant a bit.
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From:tatjna
Date:April 27th, 2011 06:29 pm (UTC)
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The Maori and Pacific Island communities I worked with had quite a bit of unofficial fostering. But it was the white kids that were mostly the worst truants.

Also, it sounds like a lot of the things that are tried are similar to what happens here. But I am not convinced (and unlikely to be) that holding a parent's freedom to ransom in order to emotionally manipulate a kid into going to school is ever going to be ok.
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From:poor_toms_acold
Date:April 26th, 2011 06:25 am (UTC)
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Why did I read that fucking article.
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From:tatjna
Date:April 26th, 2011 06:34 am (UTC)
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The same reason people always look at the hanky after they've blown their nose?
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From:poor_toms_acold
Date:April 26th, 2011 06:44 am (UTC)
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... it's only to make sure my septum retainer hasn't fallen out. Really.
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From:pombagira
Date:April 26th, 2011 08:08 am (UTC)
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oh if only i had read that before i read bit of that article.. *snort*. i might of made it to the end.. bwahahahaha

*grins*
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From:pleiadeslion
Date:April 26th, 2011 09:23 am (UTC)
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Bitchy Jones had a great essay about why facesitting is all about the mens.
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From:tatjna
Date:April 26th, 2011 08:41 pm (UTC)
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I don't know what it is, but something really rubs me the wrong way about the suggestion that putting your vagina in someone's face is akin to pushing the "On" button.
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