Thursday, May 5, 2011
WAS THAT A BABY IN SENATOR ASHFORD’S OFFICE???
Last Thursday, April 21st, several members of the Millard Parent Society had the opportunity to visit the State Capitol Building, and more specifically, to visit the office of every Senator at the Capitol! Our purpose was to distribute stories or examples of how the new truancy bill would adversely affect families by putting pressure on school districts to disregard parent excused absences by requiring school districts to report students to the county attorney who are twenty days absences (excused or unexcused).
We also distributed information containing solutions that would define truancy in such a way as to protect the distinction between excused and unexcused absences while reaching students who are absent without excuse. We provided an example of the D.A. Mentor based truancy program that has been working well for inner city Memphis. As members of the Millard Parent Society, we are opposed to excessive truancy and believe there is a solution to fighting truancy without taking away parental rights and privileges.
The members in attendance were: Christine Bates, Sharon Call, Autumn Cook, Stephanie Morgan and Liz McCash, as well as younger children and infants. We were quite a sight with our strollers, binkies, stuffed animals and young children.
Autumn, Sharon and Liz visited every Senator on the 2nd floor, while Stephanie and Christine tackled the 1st floor. We were received with great interest and concern from most all of the Senator's aids. I felt that as we made contact with these people and spoke our concerns that we were being listened to and that we were making a difference!
One of the biggest questions we got from many of the offices we visited was, "Have you visited Senator Ashford's office?" And, "What does Senator Ashford say about this?" We knew we needed to visit Senator Ashford before the day's end, and as luck should have it, we happened to be in his office as he came through to leave for the Easter weekend (wink, wink).
We had the opportunity to speak directly with Senator Ashford for the length of at least ½ an hour regarding LB 463. At first he seemed closed and reluctant to enter a discussion of the bill, however, we persisted and he relented. It appeared that he was opening his mind up to be willing to change some of the bill to a degree and consulted with his aide in front of us. She seemed more closed on the discussion than he and at one point he seemed to be trying to convince her of our cause! I felt truly grateful that he was willing to listen to us and take our concerns seriously. I certainly hope that this remains the case and that we will soon see the evidence of his sincerity and understanding of our point of view.
On a personal level, this was a great experience for me. My ten year old son and I met many wonderful people that day, including our Senator, Senator Price, who offered to visit his scout troop. While holding Stephanie's baby in the hall I met and spoke with a Senator (never caught his name) at length about life in general and kids and living in Nebraska. I felt that we were being listened to and taken seriously. I felt that our visit made an impact. I am grateful for the example of politicking that Stephanie and Autumn demonstrated. I am hopeful that as the Senate votes on this bill this coming week, that changes will be made in giving some of the freedoms back to parents in discerning for ourselves when we feel it prudent to take our children out of school.
Sincerely and Gratefully,
Posted by Stephanie Morgan at Thursday, May 05, 2011