Wednesday, February 19, 2014

"School shouldn't be a place we are terrified to go": Antony Ward's Letter to the Judiciary Committee


My passion is football!  I am a Senior this year and a 4 year Varsity Football Player at South High. I am the State Power Lifting Champion.  I help take care of my family.  I work a part time job.  I am involved with my church, Avenue Scholars Program & Greatness Academy and my dream is going to college play football and get my degrees in Engineering & Videography … school is my gateway ticket there. 
I never expected to get thrown in Truancy Court because I was never Truant for even one day… I was only absent with illness and good reasons.   The only thing we are working against here is to get that percentage of  kids that have illness, sickness or excused days where their parents communicate with the school board on what’s going on in their household we are trying to get that percentage out of the court room.
I got Mono and was real sick missed lots of days of school I was sick for over 5 months.  I didn't miss my school work because my Mom made sure I kept up with my school work.  When my Mom almost died it was so hard to see her in so much pain losing so much blood and so weak.  Some days my little brother and I would stay home because we thought if we went to school and she died that would be horrible so we stayed with her together with my family.  I am mad at the lawmakers for putting my family through such a terrible nightmare.  It has been very stressful, scary and took a lot of time away from our happiness.
We had to find attorneys and people just to help us fight for our innocence and find justice. 
Our lives changed so much and it was very scary not knowing if the police were gonna come take my little brother away… or my Mom  he was always very sick with asthma and he got any virus that came to his school even swine flu
my family that too, but I didn't get it.    I like school & I get good grades,  Missing those  many days of school didn't negatively effect my education because I still learned what the other kids learned and turned in my work. 
My Mom always had me get my make up work from my teachers and I kept up with my class even though I was not sitting in a seat at school… I still learned and today I’m going to College at Metro and UNO taking my classes to get my Associates Degrees.  So that truancy law stole time from our lives and wasted lots of money and made our lives life very sad. 
This school year I've had: torn quad, upper respiratory infection, sprained ankle, stomach bug, other football related injuries, I’m just a normal regular kid going to school, playing sports and getting injured or hurt sometimes along with the occasional cold/virus that comes through attending school.
This is a note from one of many colleges that want me to come to their school.
They wrote to me and said, “Antony, our coaching staff has identified you as an athlete we definitely want as a part of our 2014 recruiting class.  Not only are you a fine football player, but we also recognize your high level of academic success!”
Funny how all my "excessive absences" haven't had any negative impact on my grades and my academic success shows that!  I am proud of myself and I know my family is proud of me.
School is only one place we learn certain things, being with our family and living life is how we learn to be an adult and our parents know us the best. One day I missed school and made up my assignment and my teacher told me I was the only one who turned in the assignment and I wasn't even in school that day so I don’t think it is true that you have to be in a seat at school to learn.  You do have to have a good parent that care about you.
If you keep taking away our childhood and punish us and take us away from our families that we love you just hurt us. 
Our parents love us the most and know what’s best for us.  We aren't criminals.  Please take the police out of our schools because your parents didn't have to face courts, sheriffs at your door, wait for attorneys to come to your house then they don’t even show up.  School shouldn't be a place we are terrified to go to… police should get criminals and sick kids  & kids that skip school are not criminals… just kids.
We don’t need to go to court or diversion and neither do our parents.   I liked school a lot better before this law came out.
It is unjust and all the damage this law has done is just stupid and really  hurt my family bad.
Like my Mom says… we will never ever be the same and even though we are free and our cases dismissed …we still suffer lots of stress from this whole Truancy scare.
 I’m glad I’m 18 so that stress & fear goes away from my family now.  Everyone deserves a chance to grow up and if the truancy law wants money they should find another way than making profit off us kids.  Please get rid of that law Repeal it and make it go away so we can be safe at school again.  This law is just wrong!
Antony Ward

1 comment:

  1. This is from the mouth of a child that went through this with his family. If anything, schools should be involved only to a certain point....if there is communication going on then there shouldn't be any reason at all for courts, judges, attorneys to be in family business. I applaud this young man for teaching all of you what is important. Family...and for these laws to govern and destroy the sanctity of family is unacceptable.