Gang Moms And Dads Ordered To Parenting Classes

A new law in California means that judges can order the parents of convicted gang members to attend parenting classes.

The Parent Accountability Act
gives judges the option of sending parents for training when their kids are convicted of gang crimes for the first time.

First Time Gang Parents Have Been Sent To School

State Assemblyman Tony Mendoza (Democrat – Norwalk), the lawmaker behind the new act, said this is the first time such an option has been available, although other court-mandated classes exist at the local level. The new law went into effect in January but, owing to budget problems, it is just now being tried out in the Los Angeles Unified School District.

“A lot of parents do not know how to handle teenagers,” Mendoza stated. “Now more than ever, parents need a guide.”

Stressed-out Parents

Maybe so, but the reality is that parents in gang neighborhoods are often struggling to survive, working more than one job, so is it fair to assign them to special classes?

These Classes Can Help

Some parents think so. From MSNBC:

Jose and Rosalva Rodriguez attended one of the first classes, which was held on two consecutive Saturdays at a high school in the San Fernando Valley. Their 16-year-old son had been accused of spraying graffiti when police arrested him at a party attended by gang members.

In addition to sentencing him to one year’s probation, community service and counseling, the judge ordered the parents to attend the class, where they heard about tough legal penalties levied against gang members and how they could get more involved in their kids’ lives.

“It was very important,” Jose Rodriguez said after driving an hour from Lancaster, a sprawling city in the high desert north of Los Angeles. “I’m going to speak to him, listen to him and give him advice.”

The 48-year-old baker said he learned how to spot the warning signs of gang involvement, including if his son was carrying markers that can be used for gang graffiti.

New Law Prosecutes Parents Of Truant Kids

This is not the only court-mandated program for parents in California. As I wrote in these pages earlier this year, a new law going into effect next year would let Californian officials prosecute parents when their kids are truant from school.

Are these laws a good idea? And is it fair to hold parents in contempt of court if they don’t attend their court-assigned classes? And will this tactic serve to reduce gang violence?

A Good Way To Reduce Gang Violence?

What do you think?

Creative Commons - cliff 1066tm


Norma V.
Norma Villarreal7 years ago

Mandatory parenting classes? Some of these parents of gang members are also involved in illicit activities or in denial that their child is involved in illegal situations. This may be a start, but it is not the solution.

Bob Skippy B.
Bob 'Skippy' B7 years ago

There's one *big* problem with this program: It doesn't *prevent* youths from getting into gangs in the first place!

In order to be effective, any program for kids needs to instill them with a sense of right and wrong at a *very* young age; to wait until they're teenagers - and *already* in trouble - is *way* too late!

Can we mandate parenting classes for all parents? Again, is it too late by the time young people *become* parents? Principles of good parenting should be second nature - not just newly-learned skills - by the time youth are hitting puberty. Why not the 'egg game', but started in grade school, maybe 4th or 5th grade, instead of middle or high school? Once kids get the idea of the responsibility needed, further schooling can go from there.

What do we have now to prepare kids for the challenges of parenting? Not much, thanks to all the 'abstinence-only' crap that's been foisted on us by the religious reich...

Should we require parenting licenses? How *could* we do that? We're dealing with one of the most powerful biological drives; kids are going to have sex, get pregnant, and have babies *regardless* of whether they need a 'license' or not! And how would we ever *enforce* it? Take babies away from unlicensed parents? WHEE!!! No responsibilities!!! No worrying about the consequences of their actions!!!

Bad move...

This program isn't a bad idea, but I don't think it goes far enough; we need something that's based on *reality*, NOT political agenda

Myriam Garcon
Myriam G7 years ago

Dear Mrs Shakespeare
it's too bad you said on numerous previous posts that you don't have and don't want any children; parenting seems to come so easily to you!

Mrs Shakespeare
Mrs Shakespeare7 years ago

Only gang parents?! Thats good of course, but if I could, I'd educate all parents, or at least 98% of them.
Just because a child didnt join some gang, and just because the parents arent alcoholics or drug addicts doesnt mean everything is great. To me, teaching your kid disrespect, greed and how to depend on materliastic things and superficiality is far more dangerous than putting a gun in his hand, because it is obvious for most people to see how bad and dangerous that gun is, but do they really grow and see what shallow values they have been taught? In most cases, no, they just go on and on and on being terrible, shallow people who were ruined by terrible, shallow parents.
Sad, no? :/

Charlene R.
Charlene Rush7 years ago

To Nancy V.: I was ready to leave this site, until I read your comment. Obviously, you wnat to see a Communist state in the U.S.A.
I hesitate to tell you how incompetent your remarks are.

Goodness gracious - I thought we had problems with people from other countries. You have proven to me, that we need to FIX many people within our own country, first.

Charlene R.
Charlene Rush7 years ago

It's the domino effect.

The problem exists in the neighborhood. Unfortunately, poor people are stuck. How do you get neighborhoods to change? The fact is, you probably, don't.

If you move to a better neighborhood, that's a good thing, assuming that you are accepted in the community. We live in a society that loves to find someone to hate. Determination is the key. Of course, that is easy for a white person to say.

Now, to the subject at hand. I would suggest that classes for parents, are not a bad idea, but that does not preclude that the neighborhood should not be protected, in the mean time.

I'll go back to the domino effect.

Kay L.
KayL NOFORWARDS7 years ago

Another case of trying to make a one-size-fits-all solution fit all when there is such a wide range in parenting interest that there's no way one kind of parenting class can apply to all cases. Some parents want to help their kids and are motivated to learn from such classes, but others are so disfunctional themselves that they are uninterested in putting any effort at all into parenting... and every range in between.

John C.
Past Member 7 years ago

Thank you!

Gloria H.
Gloria H7 years ago

license to have kids, mandatory pre- parenting classes just isn't going to happen. ACLU would be on that like white on rice.
As a former teacher, I had experience with talking to disruptive student's parents. Some parents were willing to cooperate, and a few went totally ballistic on me.
Going to classes is less harmfull than having to pony up for bail, take time off work to visit the kid in juvenille lockup, paying amends for property and personal damage, and having to show up for court.

gerlinde p.
gerlinde p7 years ago

everyone should have to visit a parenting class beore becoming parents.