Friday, December 16, 2011

The Hall Family: A parent's nightmare

Written by: Stephanie Morgan, Nebraska Family Forum Moderator

The Hall family has finally been released from the clutches of this truancy law and now they are just trying to get back to normal life. It's important that we don't forget! Lucy's story was the reason I decided to get into this fight and never give up. I remember meeting her for the first time and talking to her about what had happened, the way her story affected me was profound. If you haven't read this one you should!!


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 was 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.

Lucy was told the program would end at the conclusion of the 2010/2011 school year but instead her daughter was required to 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 is 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.


2011 Update
By: Lucy Hall

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. It's not an issue with Steven yet but the fear is very much alive and well. After my daughter was swept up in this Truancy sham last school year I am terrified that he will suffer the same fate should I let him stay home when hes not feeling well. I have anxiety attacks over the kids staying home from school now. We live in fear every day that the choice to keep them home from school could lead us into a new year of Truancy Hell. The last thing I want to bring into his already rocky education is a truancy issue. I pray they just leave us alone.

Lucy Hall
Lincoln, NE

No comments:

Post a Comment