Lucy Hall, whose daughter attends Clark Middle School in Lincoln, entered a truancy diversion program under threat of prosecution. She has lived the worst nightmare of every parent. She has been treated as an unfit parent because her honor roll student suffers from severe fall allergies that cause her to miss school often during that season. Under threat from a judge that her child could be removed from her home, she has been required to entertain a social worker from Omni Behavioral Health weekly – in her home – among other demeaning, court-mandated interventions to “rehabilitate” her daughter, who is loved by her teachers and peers and has not had a behavioral issue at school in her life.
She was told the program would end at the conclusion of the school year but instead required she meet throughout the summer with other “truant” teens, some of which are truly troubled youth, in order that she develop bonds with other students who suffer from excessive absenteeism.
The state mandated interventions, the condescending attitudes of the social workers, lawyers, and judges, and the humiliation her daughter has suffered are intolerable. Lucy sought legal counsel because of the threatening tactics of those tasked with “helping” her daughter to recover from her excessive absenteeism. After going public with her story, which took a great deal of courage, she felt even more vulnerable and her family began discussing a move back to Missouri in order to protect themselves and their daughter.
One day in the middle of this nightmare, I inquired after her well being and received these emotional words from this discouraged mother, “I have been in a sort of fog the past few days. My mind has just been swimming with so many things to say that I don’t know how to begin! I am angry.....I am sad.....I am heartbroken and really very beaten down at this point. I am discouraged at how very few people know about what is going on or even care about it…It saddens me how few are interested in standing up for what is right.”
In the end, the Hall family decided to see it through and tolerate the “truancy diversion” program. In order to be released from the program and to ensure that they never again fall into the system, they have been sending their daughter to school with migraines. It is difficult for their daughter to function at school when she is sick but she is fully aware of the alternative and will do just about anything to avoid it. She continues to get good grades and hopes to be able to finish high school without incident.
We have put up with the program and I must say thankfully we are no longer enduring the stress that this put on our family. I honestly have to say that once it was all over with I just wanted to put it behind us and go on with life but I know in doing so I would not be doing my family or anyone else for that matter any favors.
My youngest son has an IEP and is struggling with more issues than I have time to list here....being that my daughter was swept up in this Truancy sham last school year I am terrified that Steven will suffer the same fate should I let him stay home when hes not feeling well. I have a meeting with his principle next week to discuss issues I am concerned with. The last thing I want to bring into his already rocky education is a truancy issue. I pray they just leave us alone.
Lincoln Public Schools