Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Kylie Jackson's Committee Testimony: Feb 13, 2012

FEBRUARY 13, 2012

Hello senators, my name is Kylie Jackson. I am 12 years old in 6th grade at Pawnee Elementary School in Omaha. I am here to read my statement in support of Senator Tony Fulton’s bill, LB1165. In order to be here today, I am absent, not truant even thought this law wants to label me that way. I don’t like that label pinned on my name.

I’m a great student. I behave like I am supposed to, I pay attention in class, and I finish and turn in all of my assignments on time every day, and if I was sick my mom would always call the school office and ask them to get my work for the day so I wasn’t behind when I came back to school. I am here today getting an educational experience I couldn’t get in my class at my school. During last school year, I received 2 once-in-a-lifetime opportunities. 

In February, I got to go to Kennedy Space Center to see one of NASA’s last space shuttle launches. That was very important to me because I want to be an astronaut when I grow up. My mom and I tried really hard to see a launch, but this was the first and only time we were fortunate enough to. I missed 8 days of school on that trip. I learned a lot about the space program and the history of the space shuttle. 

Then in April, I got to go the Bahamas for a family reunion for my Dad’s side of my family. There I met new relatives who I didn’t even know existed. We went on a bus tour and learned about the history and culture of the Bahamas. I even got to swim with the dolphins, which is something I will never forget. I missed another 4 days. 

When I went to Florida, all of the work I would be missing was made up before I left. My teacher even gave me a fun project to do while I was there. She didn’t give me any work to do when I went to the Bahamas in April because I was so far ahead of my class. I didn’t just go on these trips for fun, I went for an experience I couldn’t get in my classroom. 

I was absent a total of 12 days by then. I was sick quite a few days last year and I was bullied frequently. By the end of April, I’d been gone 20 days. Then I missed one more day because I was sick again. That got me up to a grand total of 21 days missed by the end of my 2010-2011, fifth grade year. 

Even through my strep throat and sinus infections, staying home for getting bullied, and my trips, I had spectacular grades. I was on the 2nd Honors (A-B) Honor Roll for 3 quarters and 1st (all-A) Honor Roll for one. In June, my mom got a letter in the mail from the Sarpy County Attorney AFTER school was over and done with. The letter said that my attendance would be monitored. Monitored? That put me under the impression that I did something terribly wrong and I wasn’t allowed to miss any school days in my 6th grade year. 

I started feeling nervous when I started missing school because I was sick. I’ve already missed 4 ½ days this year, and I am missing today for this. My older sister got married in Hawaii this past November, and I was unable to go. That’s wrong. I shouldn’t have had to miss my own sister’s wedding because of this law and its possible consequences on my family and me. How would you feel if you were in this situation? That disappointed my whole family. This law can’t simply define kids like me. I’m not going to have a horrible life when I grow up because I was occasionally absent from school. I’ve learned a lot while my seat has been vacant and my chair at school is cold, but the things I’ve learned on my travels were things I NEVER could have learned while sitting in my seat at class.

1 comment:

  1. Kylie I think you did exceptionally well. I feel there was a lot of power behind your explanations in explaining how the injustice of this truancy law is affecting school age children and their families.
    Also, the fact you were able to testify in front of the Judiciary Committee Nebraska Legislatures is an educational experience you will remember for a life time. These types of educational moments in a child's life is usually once in a lifetime.