Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Open Letter: Chad Lehmer

First and foremost, I am a sinner who has been saved by grace, I am a Christian.

1st Timothy 1:15. "This is a faithful saying, and worthy of all acceptation, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners; of whom I am chief."

I start with the above statement and verse, because my beliefs are predicated on my deep and abiding love of Jesus Christ, albeit a sinner. In my family this means that God has given us our children to raise according to his will, not ours (however He has given us the tools to do so) and definitely not the will of the state.

I don’t pretend to know or have all the answers, I do have opinions and it is my opinion “the state” does NOT have the answer.

I have fundamental constitutional rights to decide what is best for and how to raise my children according to my beliefs!

I’ve read many stories on the NFPF website/blog page and they both sadden and enrage me. I’ve started and stopped writing this letter many times; I feel that many have stories that need to be told more than mine. However it is also important, I believe, for everyone to know where I am coming from.

During the 2009/2010 (do you remember that year, I’ll give you a hint, swine flu) school year I became immediately aware of the “truancy” law, one of my five children had missed fifteen days of school, due to “un-documented” illnesses, that’s right, UN-DOCUMENTED, I did not take my child to the doctor just because he was ill. I do not take my children to the doctor for every little thing, I’m confident I can pull a splinter out of my child’s finger, I’m confident that I can deal with various cuts and bruises and I AM confident I can decide when an illness requires medical attention.

I’ve deviated, my apologies, I received a letter from the truancy office, whose name escapes me at the moment; I really need to find that letter; the letter told I needed to appear before the truancy office to explain my child’s absences. My thought was “Why, I’ve called my child in sick for all the days my child was sick”. The letter gave me a date and time to show up, if I recall correctly, I believe it said something about referral to the CA should my child miss five more days of school. This upset me greatly. 

There was no way I was going to take a vacation day from work just to show up to a meeting that I was not comfortable with, not to mention the fact that the time of day would require me to pull my other two children out of school, making them absent, to go to the meeting. To finish up my truancy story (if I tried to write it all out I would probably end up with a novel), I called the truancy officer, ready to unload on him, I must admit he was quite calm about the matter, which calmed me down greatly (this was to my benefit), I told him that I would not be able to make to the meeting and asked if this call would suffice.

After some going back and forth and telling him that my other kids would be absent if I had to go, he agreed that the call would suffice, but not until after he threatened me with being reported to the CA, if my child missed five more days of school, I scoffed at that statement and told him to bring it on, I will gladly argue my case in front the CA or any judge for that matter. At any rate the matter was settled I did not have to meet with the truancy officer (with my child). That is pretty much were my story ends, my child did not miss an additional five days of school and we were not forced into arguing with the CA or any of that, thank the Lord! 

I am dedicating this paragraph to a single comment made by the truancy officer. The gist of the comment was, not quoted verbatim: “It is the schools job to teach the kids about responsibility and work ethic, they need to be taught that in the real world, when they have a job, they will not be able to just take a day off whenever they want, even if they are sick”. UM, NO! THE SCHOOLS JOB IS TO TEACH! (I.e. Math, English, spelling, etc.). That comment absolutely got my blood boiling and I laid into the truancy officer on that one. I don’t know about you, but when I look for a job (assuming you don’t need one immediately, then you take what you can get), I don’t look for the one that is going to give me the least amount of perks, one day of vacation, one day of sick time, no paid holidays, etc. I told the truancy officer a little about my current job and what kind of perks I get. He tried to back me into a corner, by saying something to the effect of, “Well you can’t just use those anytime you want to, you have to have some sort of advanced notice.” Again, WRONG, I can pretty much use my company given time anytime I want, he backed off. 

OK, sorry for that rant, again the truancy office was trying to make the case that somebody has to teach the kids work ethic, and was trying to sell the idea that it was the schools responsibility. In my opinion, this goes to show you the overall mindset of our public school system, however it does not stop there, this is in general the mindset of our government officials as well, and we can see this in Senator Ashford and others. 

I will finish up with a few more comments; lately we’ve seen more media attention drawn to our plight. Along with this (as we can see on the OWH website) brings some crazy opinions out of people. How can you call me a bad parent, because I’m ok with my child’s excused non-truant absence, whether for being sick or any other matter I believe is in my child's best interest? I take personal offense to that, even though most of these comments are made about other parents, who have far worst situations than I. This has nothing to do with teaching children responsibility; it has everything to do with parental freedom and religious freedom.

Why is a parent referred to as a deadbeat, when they keep their parenting responsibility instead of giving it to the state?

What happens when “they” try to take something away that you care deeply about?

What will you do when they come after your children?

Chad Lehmer
Omaha, NE


  1. "What will you do when they come after your children?"

    That is exactly what "they" are doing and it up to us as parents to tell them NO! They are not the government's children/property. They are individuals and are best cared for by the parents who know them best.

    What would they do if we boycotted the school for a day or even an hour? How much are they willing to spend to get control of our children?

    This issue is one of personal American freedom.

  2. My questions were kind of rhetorical, there are some, maybe many, who sit back and say "well its not happening to me" or "my kid will never miss that many days" or "that will never impact me, because my kid is in private school", etc. You are right, it is our responsibility to so NO and to stand up for our children. I agree that it has to do with personal freedom, I also think it hits squarely under amendment 1 of the constitution (and others). Our freedoms, our rights, our inherent rights are being taken away and it seems that for every one person who cares about it, five don't.

    sorry kind of vented there, thanks for commenting on my letter

  3. I am behind you 100% Chad. I attended the meeting at Creighton Law school yesterday evening and one of the things that absolutely struck me is the degree to which elected officials and big ed wish to assume responsibilities that are best left to the parent. The vast majority of parents lovingly raise their children, from the time they are helpless infants, completely dependent upon adults to the time they leave home. Parents know how to take care of their children. Parents know when their children are ill. Parents are capable of determining when family priorities, be they vacations, sports trips, educational opportunities or mission trips merit missed days of school.
    The state MUST be pushed back by committed parents intent on preserving our fundamental, constitutional right to parent our children and make decisions for our own flesh and blood.