Parents in Germany face fines for taking children on early vacation
Gone are the days when only children got into trouble for playing hooky — at least in Germany.
Police investigated parents with children at an airport, ahead of the Pentecost weekend holiday from May 19 to 21, reports Der Spiegel.
Families at the Memmingen airport were interrogated when they were seen with school-age children. Police officers asked for the names of the school and validated if the children had excused absences. If a parent refused to give a school’s name, the officers would still manage to locate where the child studied. The airport, located in southwest Bavaria, does not have many schools anyway, explained an officer to newspaper Stern.
Ten families were found to have enabled truancy. Though schools can request to have the children brought back, parents most likely face fines of up to €1000 (P61,500) and have two weeks to present a valid reason for an unexcused absence.
Pre-holiday truancy has become a common phenomenon as parents try to catch cheap deals which usually come before the peak holiday season. However, this comes at the expense of their children’s education which the state provides for free and requires attendance from children 6 to 16 years old.
Skipping school faces serious punishments as the education system aims to minimize the number of drop-outs. At times, the penalty has been questioned: in 2007, a 16-year-old student was sent to jail when her parents refused to pay fines and after she snubbed community work for her truancy, according to Der Spiegel. Niña V. Guno/JB
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