Edinburgh Council has already started criminal proceedings against three parents who it is alleged have failed to ensure their children attends school regularly.
The sanction has existed for several years and has already been used by other councils, including Glasgow, but this is the first time Edinburgh has moved to prosecute parents.
Courts have the power to jail parents for up to a month or fine them up to £1000 if they have persistently failed to ensure their children go to school.
The move comes as part of a wider council initiative in Edinburgh to help improve attendance at school.
New targets for the current school year are to raise attendance in primary schools from 94.5% to 94.9%– around 17,000 additional pupil days.
The target for secondary schools is to raise attendance from 91% to 91.4% – around 13,000 pupil days.
Paul Godzik, convener of the council's education committee, said: "Prosecution is a last resort and before we consider it we will use all available recourses and statutory interventions.
"If, however, these steps do not help, and parents do not take adequate measures to improve their child's attendance at school, then they will need to answer for their child's poor attendance in court.
"This sends out a clear message to parents that poor attendance at school has serious consequences."
The move to prosecute parents more widely provoked a backlash earlier this year, with headteachers arguing that it was not the best way forward.
Figures showed one council had secured convictions in fewer than 5% of court cases.
Since 2007, North Lanarkshire Council has taken 74 parents to court but only three parents have been convicted. In the past three years no convictions have been secured despite 43 cases coming to court.
School Leaders Scotland (SLS), which represents secondary school headteachers, said taking parents to court was "time-consuming, bureaucratic and ineffective".
Ken Cunningham, SLS general secretary, said: "We would like to see local authorities being able to adopt a more flexible approach, rather than being in the position of pursuing court every time or never being able to use the courts."
He said reasons for truanting were varied and urged schools to look at the context of each case.
Glasgow has raised just more than 200 actions in the past two years. Many parents plead guilty and are fined as a result. Parents pleading not guilty will normally be tried before a sheriff.
If parents are found guilty, sheriffs can impose a jail sentence of up to one month. There have been reports of parents being jailed in England, but there have been none in Scotland so far.
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