They not only didn't believe school districts (especially building principals) should be free to make these decisions, it was obvious that the idea of parents having a strong role in decisions about attendance was way out of bounds. In essence they seemed to think that their collective judgment is superior to the individual judgments of parents.
They each gave examples of irresponsible parenting and mentioned family vacations and kids participating in competitive sports programs outside of the school curriculum as examples of irresponsible parental choices sanctioned by school districts.
Do these women have authority? Yes. They have tons of authority. This is the team that goes through all the files when they come in to the county attorney. They are the ones who are “looking into things”. They make recommendations for what should happen in each case which for the most part the courts follow these recommendations.
Sitting on the team are social workers, school administrators, judges, and attorneys. Representatives from every agency or department that has “statutory authority” over children. Missing are the parents, who have the primary “statutory authority” over their children.
This team facilitates what Mike Horton experienced when he went to the mass meeting and they had “pre-sorted” the kids, this is the team that triaged (or pre-sorted) them. This team has the power to require a family to come to the court house or not, they recommend monitoring, truancy diversion, etc. They are the team responsible for sending Martha Myles daughter into triage (and yes they had the information about the health issue they just thought it was fishy and that there was possible neglect by the parent). This team is made up of unelected bureaucrats. Who are they accountable too?
Richard Wexler said something last night about the difficulty that advocates of reform face when they are dealing with system administrators who firmly believe they are doing what is “best for the child” as they break the bonds between kids and their parents.