Thursday, September 8, 2011

The Meyer Family

My daughter tested positive for influenza A. Unfortunately that put her at 21 days of missed school this year. She had strep a few times, tonsillitis, and a concussion in this very unusual school year for us. All her absences this year were covered by doctor’s notes.

The principal recommend to the court they pursue my family, and so now we are going to court. Because of this law, I am no longer free as a parent to choose what is best for my child; it is now the principal’s prerogative.

I am particularly upset because at the beginning of the year the principal told me that “If we bring a Doctor’s note they would excuse her, otherwise they would mark her as truant.” So I made sure that every sick day was documented by a doctor and in the end the principal decided it was not an acceptable excuse. So much good that did! If I can’t decide if my child is too sick to go to school – and now the Doctor can’t – only the principal can!

We now have to spend $1000 to retain a lawyer. I spoke with the county attorney and asked her why we are being taken to court. She told me the principal is the one who decided, and that there is no way to avoid going to court. Unfortunately, my daughter is now paying the price, probably because I confronted the Principal and attendance officer at the beginning of the year. I feel that I have been singled out as a trouble-maker when I have only tried to protect my child. My daughter is a good student.

Her teachers love her and she has never been in trouble, but now they are treating her like a criminal just because she was sick. Parents rights are being taken away to decide if their child is too sick to be at school, or for any other reason to miss school. I think this is too much power in the hands of school administrators and the state. At the very least, the law should account for how well the student is doing academically and whether or not the student making up the homework, teacher comments, and behavioral issues. I believe that situations like mine will happen more in the coming years with proposed expansions to this law and more resources behind it.

Meyer Family
Lincoln Public Schools
Lincoln, NE
2010/2011 School Year

2011/2012 Update:

Well I thought I fill everyone in... I received a call this morning from the school social worker. She said "Brittney is in the nurses office, I told Brittney if she goes home today we will be taking her to court." Of course my response was disbelief that she would threaten my child with court while she is in the nurses office!! My daughter told me she said it in front of everyone. I dont know what to think anymore. The school nurse said she is coming down with something. But they were not worried about that of course. Today was her 20th day, half those days are because she got menigitis the first week of school. All documented illnesses, but we know how much that it worth in court.

I gave her some lunch and the meds kicked in... and my daughter actually went back to school, her choice. The social worker called me later and said sorry, "I didnt mean to sound threatening. But I wanted you to know she will be taken to court." Then the social worker said she knew she'd feel better if I gave her some time followed by, "she was in so much pain." My thought was, "you see the child in pain, but you say 'Hey, if you go home we will take you to court.'" What kind of sense does that make?

As I thought on this experience I wondered, how did we get to a point where school social workers have so much power over family life that on their recommendation you go to court?!! And, yet that's what all of the Nebraska lawmakers were saying wasn't it? They said that county attorney's would follow the recommendations of schools. Why would a school recommend court time if the student is sick? This is the common sense the governor tells us to trust? I'm at a lose.

Beth

2 comments:

  1. I think you should home school her or get her in a private school, take the power out their hands and get it back in your hands.

    Ken, Oregon

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  2. Yes they will single you out if you dare to confront the school authorities. I've been doing it and three years in a row they have tried to charge my son with truancy, without even missing the twenty days. Stay strong.

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