Hitting such families with penalties might get the attention of parents, but what it will almost certainly do is make life more difficult for a child who is already facing a steeper climb than the average student.
Schools need to find ways to remove those obstacles to learning through such efforts as Kokomo Urban Outreach’s Buddy Bags program, which provides weekend food for students at several Kokomo elementaries.
They also need to take advantage of those parents who already are engaged, and they need to look for incentives to encourage those parents who aren’t.
There will always be students living in less than ideal circumstances. It’s the job of the public schools, and the community at large, to find ways to reach those students in spite of the roadblocks.