Saturday, January 4, 2014

The Time is Now



Dear NFF Members,

For almost four years, Nebraska children and families have suffered under the “excessive absenteeism” law passed during the 2010 session.  This law was passed using the false premise that Nebraska had a “truancy crisis,” which is simply not true.  Daily average attendance across the state has remained steady at about 95% for the past 15 years.

Thousands of Nebraska families from the Missouri River to the Panhandle have been attacked using this horrible law, and thousands of non-truant children have been dragged into the juvenile justice system.  Some have been taken from their homes for the “crime” of being absent from school.  Hundreds, if not thousands, have been forced into juvenile “diversion” programs under threat of being removed from their parents, for “crimes” such as asthma, autism, mono, depression, poverty, and other circumstances beyond their control.

An entire industry has been created off the backs of our children, and we taxpayers are footing the bill for the hundreds of county attorneys, social workers, attendance officers, student personnel assistants, and others who are profiting off the criminalization of normal life challenges.  Our children are being punished and bullied by the very adults we entrust them to for seven hours a day, the adults whose salaries we pay, the adults who work for US--the taxpayers and parents and good citizens of Nebraska.

We, the parents of Nebraska, say “NO MORE.”  This travesty, this miscarriage of justice, this outright attack on our families, cannot stand. 

Our legislative session begins in four days.  On Wednesday, January 8, our battle truly begins.  We must rid our state of this horrible, damaging law once and for all.  We need all of you, each and every one of you, to take action! 

The NFF has crafted legislation that will fix the mistakes of LB800, LB463, and LB933 once and for all.  Our legislation defines truancy correctly--the willful absence from school in defiance of parents and school authorities.  It requires the school, parents, and student to work together to address attendance issues.  It no longer gives the schools the option to shirk their responsibilities by turning over every child to law enforcement.  Most importantly, it prevents sick children and others with legitimate absences from being thrown into the juvenile justice system.

The NFF is working with a senator who has agreed to draft this legislation.  Over the next few weeks, we will be asking for every member of the NFF to contact their state senator to ask for support of our proposed changes. 

Those of you who have come under personal attack and been willing to share your stories, please know it’s because of your courage and fortitude that we’ve come this far.  It’s the family stories that are finally getting the attention of our legislators.  Over the next couple of months, we will ask one last thing of you.  Please commit to traveling to Lincoln to testify about your experience, and BRING YOUR CHILDREN.  It is crucial for our senators to hear from you!  Most of them are parents themselves, and they need to hear what is happening to our children under the guise of “education.”

NFF members, the time is now.  We need you to make one last stand to rid our state of this law that has harmed so many of our children.  Please check the Facebook page regularly for further updates and calls to action.

2 comments:

  1. Thanks Brenda for all your hard work and dedication to this effort. I plan on being in Lincoln as much as possible until our elected lawmakers get the message that NRS 79-209 as currently written is discriminatory and abusive. The law needs a rewrite!
    Thanks, Vaughn Crowell

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    1. Thanks to all of this team for telling these stories so that all Nebraskans can see the damage being done...

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