Wednesday, December 12, 2012

The Ward Family: "We will never be the same"

I was listening to another mother tell her story and my heart goes out to her and her family.  Thank you God, I am so relieved to hear her case was dismissed.  She was able to hire an attorney ... anyone who hires a real defense attorney will have this nightmare squashed from the start.

That is great for those families that can afford an attorney. However, families like mine that cannot afford a real defense attorney are in serious trouble at the mercy of unconcerned public defenders.

Her ordeal lasted several weeks and ours lasted 6 months.  Here is our story.

My family was trapped in this truancy nightmare for 6 months while I was trying to heal from 3 surgeries.  We were finally dismissed without diversion/monitoring after a second judge stepped in and much pressure was put on the people in the court system trying to make a case against me.
They never had one bit of proof that supported their charges of neglect and abuse.

My sons are deeply loved and very well cared for aside from us living in extreme poverty:  $500.00 a month for a family of four... that is extreme poverty.  Poverty does not automatically make a bad parent.  I am a very good, concerned and involved parent. My oldest son is on Honor Roll, a Varsity Football Player since his Freshman year, 3.5 GPA, Leader in Greatness Academy, plays guitar and tuba, and he excels at everything he does and he has been a leader amongst his peers since he was 5 years old. I have extraordinary children!

They threatened to take my 10-year-old son from me whose education never suffered even though he missed a lot of days of school since kindergarten. He has a chronic illness, asthma/allergies, and catches every "bug virus" that comes to the school.

The dates used in the petition against me.. lots was going on in our family during this time... the court chose to try and take my child from me based on events out of our control and ignoring all my communications with the schools:

I almost died last September of complications and I was literally on my death bed.  My sons missed some days of school because they did not know if I would be alive when they got home. My family lost 2 family members back to back in December 2011, my oldest was suffering with Mono during this time and my other son was sick with asthma and allergies. All this time I had constant and frequent communications with my sons' principals and teachers.  Education never suffered for my sons... never!

The stress, anxiety, and thousands of tears we shed, worrying for many months that I was going to lose my son.  Pete Pirsch was appointed Guardian Ad Litem over him and threatened us that he had the power to take my son away from me, but he had no evidence to do so. He would try to suddenly pop in on us at home on holidays, on Sundays without an appointment and that is not acceptable.  He was supposed to make appointments but when we made them he never showed up! Leaving us waiting for many hours... no phone call, no reschedule, just pure anxiety and stress on my family.

My son, crying and afraid, started asking to learn the city map so when they did remove him
from my home, this brave 10 year old was thinking of how he would escape and find his way back home.  That still breaks my heart... he also cried out that he
wished he was never born or could be born again without his illness to keep the cops away from our family... this is not a normal part of a healthy childhood.  The state put us through all of this drama, damaged my family and we are still trying to pick up the pieces.
The fear that is now deep inside is indescribable.  Every car door that slams, every unexpected knock on our door sparks anxiety.  This is not right! How do you restore trust and safety to a child dragged through a mess like this?

This is a very happy, confident, friendly, kind and considerate child who never thought anything negative about his disability or his chronic illness. All of his life was turned upside down and I could not do enough to reassure him that he was safe and no one was taking him away from me. How does this help education? It does not help anything.

My precious son now suffers from a stress/anxiety disorder he never ever had before the courts threatened us for half a year that he was going to be taken away from his family... He was only 10 years old, a Special Education child, and I am still very upset that this has changed our lives forever and made so many negative impacts on us.

I refused to take him into a court room filled with judges and attorneys, when I had no idea why all of these false accusations were ever made against me. I was not found to be abusing or neglecting my son, nor was I guilty of failing to educate him and feed him... but all of this was on legal documents served to my home by a Sheriff on my son's official day off from school.

My son actually graduated out of Special Education in May 2012 and he passed every subject.  His education never suffered and his attendance record never had even one day of truancy!  He is an over achiever!

We are now a Home School Family because the state tried to take my son again even after we were a certified home school.  Home School is the only option I have to safely raise my son with chronic illness because of this horrible truancy law.
The law is not cleared up...families are not safe.  This law was created to make money for those in the system, not to find truant students.  
Parents need to know to fight for their family... don't cave to diversion/monitoring because this is where CPS can get a foot in the door of your home and find a way to take your child away from you.

This entire truancy thing is about money. Butts in seats equals check in hand for OPS and these referrals have created lots of paid positions for people involved with the schools and the court system. It does not improve the attendance of that innocent child... it causes stress, anxiety and issues that parents would never dream of.

I had a lousy court appointed attorney who never defended us. I had to work around her. She blocked me from being present at hearings that I was legally allowed to attend. She went behind closed doors with Prosecutors and Judges without presenting my evidence and without me present. The law states if I were in jail at the time these hearing were held,  I would be brought from the jail cell to be present at these hearings. I am a FREE WOMAN and I was NOT ALLOWED
BY MY Court Appointed Attorney to be present to hear what was being said and determined about my family.  That has got to end!

I found Family Advocacy Movement and Nebraska Family Forum and we had to find private attorneys to coach me how to handle this trap set up by the G.O.A.L.S. Program and Tim Hamilton at OPS. These folks attacked me because I refused to participate in the GOALS Program and I refused to roll over and take monitoring and diversion for my second child.
My oldest son who had mono was forced into truancy diversion because my only options at that time in mass court were to tell it to the Judge or take diversion.  I didn't want either-- we were never truant!  Two officers came very close to me and we were forced to take the diversion. That was later cancelled in July 2012 along with my younger son's case being dismissed at the same time.

State Senator Ernie Chambers and Commissioner Mary Ann Borgeson and Principal Riggs from South High School came to our side and fought with us to get Don Kleine and Jordan Boler from the County Attorney's office to back off my family and get my oldest son out of truancy diversion because he was sick with Mono, which runs 6 months of illness through your body. All excused absences... again, not one truant day.

Principal Greg Eversol from Chandler View Elementary School  knew my family for over 8 years and he hid behind the skirt of Tim Hamilton from OPS Administration, even though Principal E. had a very very close relationship with both of my sons.  He did not even attempt to stand up for his student that he knew was not ever in danger, never abused and never neglected by me or anyone.
That loss for my son was the most painful impact my son suffered.  That principal was his main male role model outside of our family and friends and that relationship was shattered completely.
My 10-year-old son told me, "Mom, call Mr. Eversol.  He loves me and he'll help us."  I'll never forget the look on his face when he heard his principal on the speaker phone refusing to help him because OPS administration told him not to get involved.  It was probably the worst moment in the whole six months of awful moments.

Parents need to fight and demand a trial or a hearing so the truth can come out... but just like my case, when the courts don't have evidence, they will dismiss the case so the parents can never tell their truth in a trial.  After months of persecuting us for no reason.  Wasting lives and money and time for everyone... but those paychecks are real and they are the real problem.

The schools and court system cast a huge net to bring over 10,000 families who would never ever be in the court system into the court system based on lies and false allegations and false accusations of neglect and abuse.

Good families are in trouble if they don't know how to fight this. You have to fight this and don't ever let those GOALS People in your home! They are NOT Voluntary and as soon as you choose to not voluntarily participate, that is when the referral is made for you to be pursued by the court system.
Such a Scary Shame!

I am now a Family Advocate with FAM, working to help educate parents on their right to fight and protect their family in a way that will release them from this horrible trap of lies. We are still in pain, still suffering from all the negative impacts of surviving this nightmare and still trying to put our household back together... we will never be the same.

I am very grateful and deeply thankful to each and every person who stepped up to help our family! We have been blessed by Earth Angels and brave parents who have shared their heart breaking stories with us all. Thank you for fighting for your family and together I know we can help abolish this truancy law in Nebraska... to make families safe once again.

From My Heart,
Tonya Ward


  1. I "totally" understand your statement "we will never be the same". I will never trust a Lincoln (NE) Police Officer ever again. When they can show up and take two young children without doing an investigation at that house (first visit they fully intended to remove a 4 month old baby and his 3 year old brother). And they can show up "without a court order signed by a judge"--I have to say they have entirely too much power. Then all the other agencies become willing participants in the fiasco. A lot (and I mean a lot) of jobs get "job security" because of all these people they tear away from their families. And when family is NOT the guilty party it makes it all the harder to endure. Ours lasted for 14 months. We had a real doozy of a guardium ad litem appointed for the kids. She (Hazel from Lincoln) not ONCE during our 14 month ordeal personally visited the kids. How you can represent someone in court and you have never visited with your clients should be a crime!!!!! Before this happened in our family I would have been one of the first to say "they must have some pretty strong stuff to be able to take kids away from their family" but after what happened to us--the answer to that one is NO THEY DON'T. I will NEVER forgive the Lincoln (NE) Police Department, Lancaster County Attorney's Office, Lancaster Juvenile Court and the Nebraska Department of Health & Human Services. I don't know how those people can sleep at night after they do this to families!

  2. Laura McCormickDecember 12, 2012

    I am not sure I understand how Nebraska, a conservative state with solid commitment to community and family became the center of a vast "NANNY STATE". The role of family and parents in a child's life is not necessary as we replace these archaic structures with "caseworkers" and "guardian ad litems". It is a FACT that most "guardian ad litems" never even meet their kiddie clients. The "guardian ad litems" will earnestly look into the eyes of the Judge, the caseworker, the educators and profess their deep commitment TO OTHER PEOPLES CHILDREN. Never mind that they may never have even met the kiddie clients they were appointed to "advocate best interests" to the court.

    The real deal is an endless pipeline of kiddie clients (who can't complain, and even if they did complain, who would they complain to) so that lawyers can stuff as much taxpayer cash as possible in their pockets. After all, earning a law degree allows one to discern what is "best" for any child in any family, for a cash payment, of course.

  3. look it up. Schools, hospitals, and such have equal rights to our kids these days, as much rights and say as a mom or dad, parental rights people are trying to stop that.