Why mention these different interpretations of what's the "important feature" in a British government report? Simply this, the issue of unruly children seems to have gotten under the Independent's headline writer's skin and he or she has latched onto the fact that parents will be held accountable. (I can imagine the writer doing research in a public library and trying to concentrate as some toddler throws a temper tantrum while a parent stands nearby, chatting on a cell phone, completely oblivious.)
The short Independent article stated,
Parents could be fined or sent to prison if their children misbehave, under powers to be awarded to schools. They form part of a government White Paper on education to be published by the Schools Secretary, Ed Balls, tomorrow.
Most schools operate agreements under which parents and pupils undertake to promote good behaviour, but they are not enforceable. The new powers could see parents who fail to abide by them fined or given community sentences. In some cases, they could end up in prison if they did not pay the fines.
It seems to me, that unruly children are a perpetual problem, and rather than give schools the power to fine parents (this whole idea sends shivers down my spine--who does the fining? Is there a hearing? Etc.) we need to educate parents how to model and encourage proper behavior. This is not necessarily a school's job, but perhaps public libraries can help--we have materials for parents to guide them in raising their children in a socially responsible manner. Some newer titles in our collection include:
Bradley, Michael J. Yes, Your Teen is Crazy!: Loving Your Kid Without Losing Your Mind [649.125 BRA].
Day, Jerry R. How to Raise Kids You Want to Keep: The Proven Discipline Program Your Kids Will Love (And That Really Works!) [649.64 DAY]
Leman, Kevin. How to Have a New Kid by Friday: How to Change Your Child's Attitude, Behavior & Character in 5 Days [649.64 LEM].
Runkel, Hal Edward. Screamfree Parenting: The Revolutionary Approach to Raising Your Kids Without Losing Your Cool [649.1 RUN].