Following up on the post that Valerie made of Illinois focus on homeschoolers-as-truants continue, I ran into an editorial from the Lincoln Courier titled Be careful with truancy ordinance.
Published Saturday, April 14, 2007
When a dozen parents of home schooled children show up at a Lincoln City Council committee meeting, something must be in the wind.
The parents were there because the city council and the Logan County Board are considering a truancy ordinance.
The General Assembly last year modified its truancy law to allow more strict enforcement of truants by authorizing cities and counties to levy fines against truants and their guardians.
The Courier spelled out some legitimate concerns. One of them being this image:
To paraphrase one wag, how do you think a page 1 photograph of Officer Smith, foot propped on, say, a skateboard and writing a ticket out to a 10-year-old would look? “But Officer Smith, I was just going to the library!”
Now imagine Officer Smith doing his duty per a city ordinance, by looking for the Homeschool Badge on said 10 year old. This was suggested by Alderman Wanda Rohlf (retired Lincoln Community High School teacher and counselor). The Lincoln Courier Editor had this to say:
Home schooled kids, just by virtue of being schooled at home, already belong to a group of “different” kids. We see no reason to further single them out for further ostracizing.
Valerie noted that: “It’s one thing, though, to tag people who need authorization to be in a restricted area, and quite another to tag people so they can be in public.”
The L-C editor also suggested the obvious:
Instead, why not restrict the arresting authority to the truant officers? That’s their job and because it is their job, chances are they already know who is truant and who is not and may even know which kids are home schooled.
Taxpayer accountability is an appealing thought for truant officers to find truant students. They are supplied with the names, addresses and phone numbers of enrolled public school students.
One other important quote worth repeating again from the editorial that should always be considered:
It’s about freedom, they say.
Proving the innocence of a homeschooled child while being presumed guilty walking down the street or playing in your front yard doesn’t seem like freedom.
Published by Susan Ryan