What about errant parents?

LETTER: We as teachers, adults, or parents should be trying our best to ensure the right upbringing of our kids. It is our duty.

As a former Children's court adviser, I have often asked this question and pointed out that it is parental care, supervision, love and understanding that will stop juvenile crimes.

And, today, besides errant kids, sadly we have errant parents too. Student crime is up. Teenagers who were no longer schooling contributed another 1.6 per cent, or 2,665 cases, to the crime index.

It is time we worked with the school authorities to stop crime among teenagers. Recently, in my duties in court, I had to deal with six kids, ranging from 11 to 14 years old, for allegedly causing a fight with a hoe.

We also have kids indulging in drugs or selling pirated videos. Children's courts are strict with errant kids, but is this a solution to their woes?

We can impose fines on children, meaning we make parents pay for their children's mistakes. At the Children's court recently, two teenagers were fined RM3,000 each for causing a fight.

The Child Act 2001 makes many parents guilty of a child's crimes. And several sections in the Child Act 2001 provide penalties for parents.

Under Section 33, it is an offence to leave a child without reasonable supervision. Such an offence carries a fine of RM5,000, and a jail term not exceeding two years.

Section 93 makes it obligatory for parents or a guardian to execute a bond for the child's good behaviour, with or without security, and other conditions, like accompanying the child to report to the Welfare Department at regular intervals, or attend workshops for counselling.

But, are all these penalties enough? Some say these errant kids should be jailed for serious crimes. And what do we do of errant parents?

Seremban, Negri Sembilan

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