Thursday, September 8, 2011

The Stacy Family

I wish to voice my frustration about LB 800, which was passed last year, and also my concerns with LB 463, going through the legislature this year. First of all, I realize there are problems with truancy at the schools. It's an age-old problem. I can understand the frustrations of the schools to some degree, but these bills go too far!

Our family received a letter earlier this year concerning my ninth-grade daughter – who goes to Millard North – for having excessive absences. She has missed about seven full days of school this year. Every day she missed was because she was sick! She is a straight-A student! We should never have received a letter threatening us with an investigation by school officials for excused absences! Honestly, the tone was insulting, making us feel as if we were doing something wrong.

I know LB 463 adds an exception for documented illness, but does that mean I will have to pay a doctor every time my child is sick if I want her to avoid being labeled truant? If I appropriately excuse my daughter from school it should not draw the inappropriate scrutiny of school officials. The law got rid of every reference to “truancy” and replaced it with “excessive absenteeism.” (The distinction is between having the right to excuse your child and not having that right.) The net has been cast to wide, and will cause too many unintended consequences to good families.

As a supposedly free country, we must be careful to preserve the freedom that we have all enjoyed for so long. Laws that take away the freedom of all to help reform a few should be avoided!! We also need to remember taxpayers hire schools to teach our children. Schools work for us, not the other way around. We the parents must have our right to decide what is best for our children honored, in order to maintain (or maybe rebuild) a strong society. I know this was a well-meaning law, but I urge you to reconsider LB 800, and strongly urge you not to pass the truancy provisions of LB 463.

Becky Stacey, mother of five
Millard Public Schools
Omaha, NE
2010/2011 School Year

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