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Archive for Friday, January 27, 2006

D.A., schools get tougher on truants

January 27, 2006

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Douglas County is getting tougher on students who skip school.

This semester, the Lawrence school district and the county's top criminal prosecutor began a set of new procedures meant to keep students in class - and to force them to pay a higher price when they skip.

"I think it's going to catch a lot of kids by surprise," Dist. Atty. Charles Branson said.

Here are the key changes:

¢ New definition of "unexcused": It used to be that to receive an unexcused absence, a student in the district had to miss at least half the school day with no valid excuse. But last month the school board changed its policy so that all it takes is one missed class during the school day to qualify as an unexcused absence.

Students are considered truant if they have three unexcused absences in a row, five in a semester or seven in a school year.

¢Tougher approach to older students: Branson's office has begun filing "Child in Need of Care" court cases for students ages 16 and 17 as soon as they are identified as truants. The court case forces parents to deal with the issue and ultimately can put the children into foster care, if a judge decides it's needed.

In the past, prosecutors rarely went to court in cases involving 16- and 17-year-old students. Instead, the school district gave them the chance to complete a "truancy diversion program" offered through Kansas University and the Kansas Department of Social and Rehabilitation Services.

The program, which pairs students with a KU student mentor, has a high success rate with younger children who are motivated by the threat of a court case if they don't go back to school.

But it had no teeth for 16- and 17-year-olds because, under Kansas law, children are allowed to legally drop out at that age with a parent's signature. If an older student was failing the diversion program, the parent often would allow the student to drop out rather than face a possible court case, said Susan Eakins, who oversees the diversion program for SRS.

"We didn't have a lot of clout," she said.

Now, in cases involving 16- and 17-year-olds, Branson's office will file the court case as soon as the student is declared truant. The pending court case will prevent the parent from letting the child drop out, Eakins said, and then the student will be offered diversion.

The new definition of an unexcused absence affects only Lawrence school district students, but the new policy for 16- and 17-year-olds is in effect countywide. Younger students will still be offered a chance at diversion before a court case is filed.

Bruce Passman, the district's deputy superintendent, said the changes happened after two people - Lawrence High School associate principal Matt Brungardt and Free State High School assistant principal Mike Hill - approached Branson's office with their frustrations about seeing children skipping school with no consequences. Passman said his sense was that more students had been skipping, but detailed figures weren't available Thursday.

As of this week, about 100 students at each school could be classified as truant, he said. At the start of this school year, Free State had 1,240 students and LHS 1,286.

"We want to get these kids in school all the time," Passman said. "I think you've got a concerted community approach to dealing with truancy now : that maybe wasn't as strong before."

Comments

sweetpeagj 8 years, 10 months ago

My son was truant all the time. I tried working with the schools and SRS to get some help and ideas on how to get his butt in school everyday. I would drive them and drop them off at the school, watch them walk in the front doors then head to wrok. Later, I would find out that he skipped right on through both sets of doors. I asked for help and recieved the answer that their was nothing they could do to get my child to stay in school. I also did not let him drop out. I made him attend Alternative school and made reports everyday to make sure that he was there and passing all of his classes.

cowboy 8 years, 10 months ago

This is BS from start to finish. When my son was in LHS there were no consequences whatsoever if you were truant. No suspensions .

My suspicion is that as long as they are on the rolls the district gets money for them.

I went to a catholic HS and there was no such thing as an excused absence , you came in with a note or you were suspended , your parents had to come pick you up , this approach from junior high on would solve thiis problem immediately. If you look at these numbers we have 8-10% drop out rates which I feel is unnacceptrable. Hold the administrators and counselors accountable for this number and you would see some attention given.

There needs to be a program in the schools for these kids , more guidance , parental involvement and an in-house GED program. Get er Done

sweetpeagj 8 years, 10 months ago

too many people would like to blame the parents for everything choice their child makes but that isn't always the case. Ask Freestate what parents were always on their butts about wanting help and my name would come up. When you ask for help and go to every resource that is built in to help you and they all tell you the same thing nope, can't help..then what? Lock the parents up for hitting a brick wall at every turn? Give me a break..not all parents sit on their butts waiting for someone else to do something. I was very active in my kids education and the only help I recieved was my own. The damn school told me to let him quit and find out on his own how hard it was. SRS told me to lock him out of the house while I was at work while he was supposed to be in school. Great advice coming from the resources that we as parents are supposed to turn too.

samsnewplace 8 years, 10 months ago

My step-daughter almost to the day of turning 16yoa, decided she didn't want to go to school any longer. She was failing every single class and her mom didn't seem to have the ambition to "make" her do homework or to stay in school. How I wish mom could have been held accountable for her dropping out. Now she is a bum living at my house, pregnant and has no future whatsoever. I don't even foresee a GED in her future. I hope this will save other kids from getting as down and out as my step-daughter.

Ragingbear 8 years, 10 months ago

I was heavily truant in Middle school in Alabama. I don't know how it works in Kansas, but in Alabama they are paid so much money, per child, per day. Those figures are what they use to get money the next year. They sued my mother and myself. I got a year's probation, and my mother got a fine of about $2500.

I have a real problem with them going after the 16 and 17 year olds. There should be a real legal issue about that as well. Last I checked, a kid could drop out at that age, and technically did not need a parent's permission to do so. So the school could only offer the ultimatum of go to school, or be expelled.

The entire corruption of government, and the greed that follows is enough. I decided long ago that if I ever ended up with children, that they would be home schooled.

bankboy119 8 years, 10 months ago

Raging, amen to that. My child won't go through public school. It's a disgrace. Once my little girl reaches Kindergarten time she's either going to be homeschooled or in private school.

sweetpeagj 8 years, 10 months ago

What are you saying? Kids who are truant have poor parents? Give me a break..I busted my butt to raise my kids and work fulltime to support them. I did everything the school asked and more to ensure that they were in school even the one's that I took in because their own parents walked out? Back when we were kids our parents weren't afraid to punish us when we made poor choices. By the time our kids were in first grade they were told that we couldn't hit them and they could report us. I have never been a wuss as a parent and never had problems with making things right. Your telling me that I should take the risk of losing the only income my family relied on to sit in school with this kid who could have cared less if I sat there? Maybe their are parents that don't give a crap about the kids they had but I wasn't one of them and resent the hell out of someone telling me that because my son was truant that I was a poor parent. I was the parent when I found out that my son was engaging in illegal activities I turned him onto the police and had him locked up. Yup..poor parent..get a clue. If I sat in school with them you would b**** because I could be working and not on welfare.

YourItalianPrincess 8 years, 10 months ago

As some of you know in here..........I own a daycare. I sometimes feel like the bartender of a bar. I hear stories on how home life is for some of my daycare kids and I want to throw up.

Some parents just don't care and they let their kids do what they want. All I can do is hope and pray these kids don't end up pregnant at 16 or in juvie by the time they are 13.

I feel as a single mom I am doing a fantastic job raising my own boys. I have and will not tolerate them missing school unless they are dying with fever. I also will not tolerate them messing up in school. Call me a hard school mom, but I want my kids to make something out of the lives. My kids have missed their share of school days, but don't think I didn't make sure the work they missed that day was either picked up or sent home with a friend.

My oldest made the honor roll for his senior year and my youngest if doing just as awesome in school as his older brother is. I have always taught them to respect themselves and strive for the best. Why settle for a low score when you can work hard to get a higher one.

I raise my boys like my parents raised all of us. If you want something in life you better work hard to get it. Its not going to be handed to you on a silver platter in my family, so strive hard and work for what you want.

Jamesaust 8 years, 10 months ago

"This is yet anotherexample of Govornment intruding on Family life and oppressing Parental authority."

Is this just poor satire?

I always get a laugh out of those who seem to believe parental authority to be absolute. It is not. It is both a legal liability and a presumption (rebuttable). Here, the County is just recognizing the lack of parental authority these parents demonstrate daily.

hottruckinmama 8 years, 10 months ago

not that i would let my kids drop out anyway but i think this is an issue between parent and child and the state should just stay out of it.

mom_of_three 8 years, 10 months ago

"I notice that today parents never take the responsibility of raising kids." That sounds like a generalize of all parents, and that is completely false. "Here, the County is just recognizing the lack of parental authority these parents demonstrate daily." That sounds like a generalization that all parents of truant kids don't try.

There are some parents who don't care or who are tired of dealing with teenagers who think they know it all. Then there are parents like sweetpea who try hard and does all she can and asks for help from the school. I am grateful I don't have her problems with her son, and hope I never do. But I hope the schools and the DA recognize the fact that some parents are doing all they can.
I can see where the DA might care about truancy - because if the kid isn't in school, then they could possibly be causing trouble on the street.

mom_of_three 8 years, 10 months ago

OTTR - obviously, you are not a parent....

You would complain if sweatpea had to quit her job to babysit him at school, and you are complaining because she isn't.....

samsnewplace 8 years, 10 months ago

offtotheright, I live with the sperm donor but the daughter wanted to live with her momma. I would love nothing more than to 'kick her to the curb' trust me, but then she would be everyone that paid taxes problem and that is not right. She would be another welfare receipient and I will not burden the rest of the state with "our problem". If her mother had to be accountable to get her right back into school at an early stage, we might have had a shot here. I hope the laws do change. It's true that parents can only do so much, but in our case momma did nothing.

mom_of_three 8 years, 10 months ago

sweetpea, Too bad you can't scare your son straight. I have a story for you about my step-brother, who hated school.

I hope everything works out for you.

sweetpeagj 8 years, 10 months ago

Thank you..I went to all the school officials and also to Susan Eakin for the state. We never had a truancy issue until his senior year then it went crazy. They said since he was 17 to let him quit and learn the hard way..bad parenting then I didn't live up to the responsibility of being the best mother I knew how and failed him by letting him make poor choices..or doing as Susan stated and locking him out of my house while I was at work. Child abuse? Child endangerment? Child neglect? then all you people could complain that I didn't take care of my kid and wanted someone else to raise him. I have raised many kids that parents did kick them out that weren't mine..happy to say ALL the kids graduated and I do include my own in this..offtotheright..if parents don't care we need to make sure that the kids get in a place with someone who does care. As a parent, we all make mistakes in making all the right choices for them but they alll deserve to have someone who wants the best frot hem. Most of the boys I had were because of pernets that didn't stop caring but stopped learning how to parent effectively. They are promised all these resources to help but, like myself, are given inaccurate information. And for someone who used to work for the state (me) this is saddening on many levels. If they can tell me, who has knowledge of all that can be done, what does it do for the parents that haven't a clue? We are so quick to judge parents and thye must not care before we find out each case individually and look at all the resources they have tried. You do reach a point as a parent with a troublesome child that you shake your head and want to walk away but many will keep fighting for what is best for their lives and their child. We do want successful children to grow up to be productive members of society and not a drain. Being a single parent trying to raise kids is hard work and it's made even harder by people who don't have kids and think they can do better.

mom_of_three 8 years, 10 months ago

My mother was also a single parent during my high school years. I never thought about skipping school, either.
But it is harder for single parents to handle the truancy issues. You can only spread one person so far, and earn a living at the same time. Two parents can tag team, and not put all the stress on one of them.

mom_of_three 8 years, 10 months ago

Sweetpea,

Glad to hear that he graduated....But I know it doesn't solve problems if he treats his job like he did school.
(part of the step-brother saga) Is he going to college, vocational school or working?

Redneckgal 8 years, 10 months ago

You know I am so tired of fighting the school system when it comes to my boy that I am about to let him go to alternative school. I just want him to get that diploma and frankly I don't care how. Its not that he skips school because he doesn't. And its not that he is a disipline problem because he's not. Its that he has a heck of time getting his lessons and most of his teachers could care less. And you teachers out there can howl till you blue in the face. Its the truth at least in our school district. I try to help but frankly I don't know enough about algabra and such to be much help. My son is not college bound. He is smart about a lot of things but college bound high school classes are hard for him. My son plans to go to vo-tech and become a mechanic. And he will be a good one. He is smart about stuff like that. I'm sick all the grief he gets from the teachers and principal. They keep insisting that he is not trying. Not "applying himself" but from my vantage point he is. He just simply doesn't get it. So I think for him it will be alternative school and then he can get his diploma and get on with his life. I'm tired of fighting the system and so is he.

J Good Good 8 years, 10 months ago

I had great parents and I was a pain in the ass. I didn't skip school, but I was doing a lot of stuff and they had no clue. Stuff that they had warned me about, and stuff that I would have been in fear for my life if they had found out. The only thing they could have done to stop me was to quit their job and follow me around 24/7.

There are bad parents to blame, but there are also kids who push their luck and have to learn everything the hard way.

mom_of_three 8 years, 10 months ago

Redneckgal... Some students don't do well in a regular classroom, but get them to a school that applies math, science and other subjects to something they are good at, and the students just blossom. Having a child with a learning disability, I have read about different types of kids, and some like yours. They aren't dumb and can apply themselves all they want, but traditional schools don't work for them.
I bet he will do great at a vo-tech school.
My dad hated school and didn't understand algebra and geometry. A couple of years later, he attended night school to apprentice for a sheet metal worker, and geometry was easy when it was applied to a real life situation and something he was interested in. He didn't have any problems, and loved what he did. (we had several metal tables and shelves at our house)

It could be that alternative school may be the best option. I hope the school works with you in your son's best interest.

tell_it_like_it_is 8 years, 10 months ago

Red...get that kid out of that school before they can ruin his self esteem. Alternative school will probably be his next best option. A good mechnic can sit his own price. I only have one problem with what you wrote...you said that you were unable to help him with algabra...well you shouldn't have to! That is what they get paid for. You do your job during the day and they should do theres too!

mom_of_three 8 years, 10 months ago

tell_it... sometimes a kid is going to have homework, and need help. Sometimes I have to help all 3 of my kids with their math, and it has nothing to do with their teachers.

Terry Bush 8 years, 10 months ago

Sigh.

Of COURSE there are good parents (single or coupled) who can't control a head-strong teen who thinks school (or other options) is worthless.

Of COURSE there are parents who are overwhelmed and under-trained to cope with such children/young adults.

And of COURSE there are parents who are so busy leading their own lives that they really don't want to be bothered with trying to ride herd on such a pain in the arse, even if they ARE their own off-spring.

There are options, there are classes, there are others to share view points with, but in the end.... It comes down to personal responsiblity.

Once a person attains a certain age, especially if they are approaching the legal age of majority (18), they are best served by suffering the consequence of their own bad decisions.

Parents who block the full impact of those consequences often only delay the inevitable and prevent a potentially valuable lesson being learned. Hard as it is for a parent to stand by and watch a train wreck involving their beloved offspring, that is sometimes the only way some people can learn life's lessons.

And yes, I have had some parental experience with watching my child make academic choices differently then I would like. And suffer the consquences. Moreover, I've had family members make some extremely hard decisions involving their children (e.g. a sister called the police on her own child whom she suspected was on the wrong path, and had them search the kid's room for illegal drugs...which they found....Same kid went through the whole juvenile system...had to get a job to pay the costs of all the required treatement etc.... and is now 100% grown up and straightened out!).

It does little good to try to soften the blows of life that teach our children right from wrong, helpful from harmful, good from bad, etc. In the end, they need to learn those lessons, as soon and as well as possible. For their own sake.

So yes, if they are 16 or older, you lock them out of the house if they aren't where they are supposed to be. You "let" them get into the trouble that thereby follows as a result of bad choices. You do not prevent it if they seem hell bent to find such trouble.

You cannot forever protect people - even your beloved child - from the results of their own choices. Let them crash and burn as soon as possible. It is painful and hard to watch those we love hurting, even if it is because of their own actions.

However, promoting responsible conduct as soon as possible (and "letting" them suffer the natural consequence of their choices) is what what we do if we love a person - of any age.

tell_it_like_it_is 8 years, 10 months ago

mom... I agree totally! BUT if for some reason the parent can't help and especially with the hard subjects the teachers should kick in. And face it. A lot of us "old folks" can't help to much with some of that stuff we didn't have in school. I don't have a problem with helping with homework. But when I feel like I am teaching the whole subject rather then just helping then there is a problem.

Terry Bush 8 years, 10 months ago

One of the main reasons that public schools started popping up (being created) in the infancy of our nation is so that children would get the benefit of collective wisdom, as opposed to the limited scope of their parent's talents. I.e. Groups of parents (tax payers) could better afford to pay specially trained people to teach their children what the parents did not themselves know or understand and/or could not find friends to teach in their stead.

However, I am hearing more and more horror stories about how that public school system is failing to do what it was originally designed to do. For a myraid of reasons.

So it's not real surprising that home school concept is again reasserting itself.

westernksgirl 8 years, 10 months ago

Ladylaw, While I agree with a majority of what you say, the biggest fly in the ointment here, is that parents are still legally responsible for damages caused by their children until they reach the age of 18. Now, while I'm a big proponent of suffering the consequences of your own actions .. unfortunately, kids under a certain age (and some even older) do not have the mental/emotional wherewithall to make such life changing decisions. Nor, should they have to. That is why school is mandatory. Just because a child has an over inflated sense of entitlement does not mean he/she is equipped with the skills necessary to suffer these consequences .. then the rest of us who have jobs, pay the price. And, if it's my kid causing the flack, I will/should be the one to pay the price. However, unfortunately, there are not other people out there who think like I do . .some are on this board today. "You can't make a kid do something they don't want to" "They're old enough to decide for themselves". Um, no, they're not. And if your kid won't listen to you, the school, the DA . .send 'em to military school/alternative school/homeschool, whatever, but keep them off of the street and yourself accountable as parents. And yes, it is the parents' responsibility, it's called parenting. Should the school notify you if your child isn't showing up to class. Absolutely. Should you make yourself available for them to get ahold of you? Absolutely. Being a parent is not easy, it shouldn't be taken lightly, and not everyone is up to the job. And, if you fall into that later category, you will do your child a favor, you will do the schools and communities a favor and let someone else raise your kid. Question, if a child is not in school, what are they doing? Most places require a GED or high school diploma for the most basic and unskilled of jobs ( though, apparently, speaking and understanding English to work in McDonald's is not a necessity in Lawrence). IF you don't have that, what are you going to do? Get pregnant and live off welfare? Commit crimes b/c you're bored? Which, is EXACTLY where the DA comes into play. It's much better to stop a crime before a crime occurs. And, I know that there are good parents who have bad kids, and bad parents that have good kids. But, PARENTS are the ones who are responsible for their children until they are 18, NOT schools and NOT District Attorneys, and some of the good ones will continue to provide emotional and financial support after that time if the children are deserved. And, to those "parents" that don't .. SHAME ON YOU.

Terry Bush 8 years, 10 months ago

I don't disagree with you westernKs. Not one bit. I just meant that if someone's 16 year old baby won't stay put in school, they shouldn't be a bit surprised to find out that bad stuff will follow... nor should they necessarily do all they can to stop the natural flow of things. Not wanting the DA to enforce the law on truancy is about as helpful as failing to ground a kid who gets straight F's. Get help if you need it, and can find it, but don't deny there is a problem if it's staring you in the face!

I have one friend who is in the Air Force, career enlisted. She's a single mom with two sons. She's risen to the top of the ladder, promotion wise (a Chief Master Sgt I believe they call it). When her darling oldest was a senior in highschool he was caught with pot in his car (he claimed it was a friends) this diminuitive little lady took out after him with a baseball bat (he is 6' and could duck - thank God). When I asked her why she was so violent with him, she explained that his screw ups (till he was 18) were held against her by the service, to the point she could lose rank etc. THAT is making a parent be responsible!!

Providing emotional and financial support, looking at and exploring lots of alternatives, and facing the fire together with your child are not the same things as helping them avoid the fires they set. Parents do suffer with their children. But they should not suffer instead of their children. Kids who have been buffered and sheltered from the results of their poor choices usually end up being adults who blame everyone but themselves for the conditions of their lives.

badger 8 years, 10 months ago

This may not be a very popular thing to say, but here it is anyway:

I believe that (in the absence of serious diagnosed mental disorders like sociopathy) parents are ultimately responsible for the decisions their children make, their children's behaviour, and things like whether or not their children attend school. You have a kid from birth on, and for years you're the single most important authority in his life. You set all the early groundwork for how he will respond to authority, and how far he'll defy people who tell him what to do.

I understand that kids do what kids do and it's hard to control them, but twenty-nine other kids in his history class showed up, and show up every day, without being nannied by school security. It's not the school's responsibility to keep the kid in class if it means locking the school up like a jail and treating all the kids who do show up like criminals.

sweetpeajg, I respect that you worked your hardest and tried what you were told were your resources to no avail. You did your best to be a good parent, and the resources that should have been in place to support you don't seem to have been particularly useful or helpful. However, it's not the failure of the school if they don't lock the doors behind the students (against fire codes, I believe) and forcibly escort them to math class.

mom_of_three 8 years, 10 months ago

Westernksgirl - I don't see any of the quotes (you can't make them.... old enough to decide...on any of the posts)

(and in schools, all the doors are locked except one-kids can get out, but people can't get in) At LHS, the guard at the door asks every adult where they are going, and they should ask every kid where they are going when they leave...But as I said, doors are locked to keep people out, not people in. Everyone is responsible to make sure every child receives an education - state, school, teacher and parent. But who is responsible when the child doesn't want the education? After a certain age, it is the child.

mom_of_three 8 years, 10 months ago

What I want to know is since the school changed the policy for unexcused from half a day to one hour, are they going to notify the parents as soon as the child misses an hour? Only if parents are notified are they able to do anything about it.

Linda Endicott 8 years, 10 months ago

You can't lock the doors of schools or anywhere else so people can't get out...the fire marshall would be all over you in an instant...

And ottr...your mother had the choice back then to punish her children the way she thought was best, and if that meant a swat on the behind, so be it...

Mothers now don't have that option...ask SRS what would happen to a mother that kicked their child's @ass...

My mother used to say that in order to get a mule to do anything, first you had to get their attention...and a two by four worked well...(no, she never used a two by four on us...but she did spank us, and I think a child will think twice about doing something they're not supposed to if they know there are consequences.)

Spanking kids used to work...but parents aren't allowed to do that anymore...and what the hell good does it do for the school to suspend or expel a kid who doesn't behave? Hell, that's what they wanted to begin with...not going to school.

Jeanne Cunningham 8 years, 10 months ago

How about if the school worked harder at making kids want to be there? at doing a better job of showing kids that what they learn has a practical application in his/her life? at teaching material that DOES have a practical application in his/her life?

mom_of_three 8 years, 10 months ago

They lock the doors to keep people out, not to keep the students in.

The students can open the doors to exit, but an intruder can't come in through a side door.

Linda Endicott 8 years, 10 months ago

Somebody mentioned locking the doors so that the kids couldn't get out once the parents got them there, because the school officials won't stop them from leaving...

westernksgirl 8 years, 10 months ago

mom of three- Those, obviously, were not direct quotes, they were sentiments that people, such as yourself, are making. And honestly, you must believe some of what I posted b/c you say "after a certain age, it is the CHILD!" Opperative word being: child. Which, they legally are, and if they don't want to do something voluntarily, then, they should face the consequences of going to boarding school or military school. And, if not going to school is breaking the law, which it is, then, perhaps, time in a juvenille facility. Where I'm sure, these truants will learn much more than the "three R's". It is not the school's responsiblity to make a kid WANT to go to school or to learn, this is the parents' responsibility. The school's are there to teach classwork, not behavior, not religion, and certainly, not mores. It is certainly more helpful to the parent if this is the case, but, I agree with Badger, the burden falls on the parent. I take my responsibility very seriously, and that is to raise polite, educated, responsible children who will become polite, educated and responsible adults. I may not have much of a say what happens to them when they're over 18, but I sure as heck can say what happens until that time.

Godot 8 years, 10 months ago

If the DA files charges on the first truancy to prevent the kid from "dropping out," how would a kid exercise his or her right to drop out? Are they expected to send a letter to the principal announcing they are withdrawing before they miss class?

I see this is another way to criminalize legal behavior.

Terry Bush 8 years, 10 months ago

You know, I have heard that anthem before - SRS will take your kids away if you EVER spank them. Since when? I thought that the state could only remove a child from the home (permanently) if there is evidence that the child is being harmed and that there is no hope for improved behavior!? If every child that got spanked was removed from their home, we'd sure need a ton more foster parents......

My mother BEAT us - although she didn't like us using that word. Anyone who did not behave according to her rules, got painfully reminded of who was in charge. She corrected us the way she'd been corrected. By today's standards, she was abusing us and she probably would lose custody. But you know what? All of us are law abiding hard working happy people. So it must not have hurt us or our self esteem all that much.

I wanted to end the abuse and did not spank my child. Lucky for me, he rarely asked for it. However, he is spanking his child. And he and his wife (who wasn't nearly as well behaved as a child) believe that any social service investigation would conclude that the spankings are not excessive, done in anger, or with malice. No marks are made/left and nothing but correcting the child is intended.

Like most things, balance is probably the key. Some children tow the line when/if they fear physcial pain. Some you can hit with 2x4's and they'll still do what ever it is that they want to do, when they wake up..... (JUST KIDDING). There is probably no "one size fits all" way to properly parent all children.

I don't mean to have this devolve into a discussion of whether spanking helps or hurts a child, over all. I just think that the myth of child removal from homes that spanks is over-played and misstated.

The child social care system is far too over-burdened to want to try removing children from homes that are providing good care and using reasonable corrective techniques.

And you know what, if a child is so out of control for a parent that they are hurting themselves and society (or the parent is hurting the child too much), it may be time for someone else to step in for awhile. In my teen years, mom had no one but dad to back her up. That's probably why she resorted to violence so often! She probably would have been happy to give us up for awhile, if that had been an option back then! LOL.

sweetpeagj 8 years, 10 months ago

I never said that the school needs to be responsible for keeping my child in the school. Never once asked them to hold his hand to every class but if you are leaving me responsible for him not attending you had better give me good resources that I can use to get my son to stay in class. I think locking the home doors during school hours is not proving anything and it gives him the opportunity to get into serious trouble with the law. Then you would have all these people on your case for not supervising your child at all times. I have been around and around these issues with parents of the children I have finished raising for them. I just want some resonable and realistic answers instead of more demands for more parent involvement. I understand that most of the kids that have some issues need to have their parent kicked in the butt to get them doing their job but not all of us are like that. Take everything case by case because that is how we judge any "crime" If you can find a charter school this is the best environment for the child that has any issues with keeping up with the rest of the class. It is tailored to your childs learning needs not the majority of the class.

YourItalianPrincess 8 years, 10 months ago

I don't like spanking my youngest and haven't had to do that for a very long time. What I do now ( and its worse then spanking for him ) is take away his Play Station controls. I have had them now for 5 days and he gets them back tonight. Its like the world is coming to an end for him when I take away something of his.

I figure why spank him anymore ( hes 8 now ) when taking away something that means the world to him hurts worse.

He already has a limit of how much time he can play video games, so having it taken away for days seems like years.

hottruckinmama 8 years, 10 months ago

when i was in school the legal age to drop out was 16. it tended to weed out a lot of the bad apples. the people who didn't want to be there and just caused trouble anyway. a lot of those kids that dropped out eventually came to there senses and got there ged's and did okay. i guess my point is why should we try to keep kids in school who really don't want to be there and why crimamlize it if they drop out? not that we shouldn't try to help the ones who are kind of on the fence about it but why try with the ones who really don't want to be there and cause trouble to prove it?

mom_of_three 8 years, 10 months ago

The burden does fall on the parent, but when the parent asks for help, the school should be able to provide it. If the parent drops the kid off at school, he attends 1 or 2 classes, and then skips 1, how is the parent supposed to know? The schools should be a little more responsible about who is leaving the building and for what.
My school was a little smaller than LHS (only 900 students), but the vice principal seemed to find everyone who came on campus and wasn't supposed to be there, and see you if you tried to leave.... Parents need help from schools and vice versa. And at some point, the teenager needs to be responsible.
I don't think the parent is solely to blame or is solely responsible for the truancy of the high school student.

Confrontation 8 years, 10 months ago

Here's "unschooling." Letting the blind lead the blind. You let your kid decide what to learn or what not to learn. Taking direction from a child = lack of common sense....unless you're discussing cartoons.

http://www.cnn.com/2006/US/01/27/gutierrez.unschooing/index.html

mom_of_three 8 years, 10 months ago

We are talking about 16 or 17 year old kids.... sometimes they only learn when they are forced to face the consequences. But before you blame the parents, you need to see the circumstances of each one.

sweetpeagj 8 years, 10 months ago

As far as the SRS question..do you have any idea how many reports I had to file because a parent smacked their child in the office? You would be amazed at how much crap there really is. Just a question to think about..how can the teenager be responsible when the law holds the parents? When I had an incident in my home and my son attacked me, I pressed charges they took him away put him in the shelter for three days then told me I had to take him back into my home because he was 17 to old for the state to take charge of?

coolmom 8 years, 10 months ago

macon today if moms or dads kick your but all the way to school they go to jail for child abuse.

Godot 8 years, 10 months ago

Mom of three, I am shocked that one hour is considered truancy. This makes this "first time offense" referral to the DA even more onerous. It is totally unreasonable that the principal would call the DA before calling the parents for a one-hour truancy. This just shows the disdain that both the school district and the DA have for the role of parents in a child's life.

USD 497 sounds incredibly oppressive.

Godot 8 years, 10 months ago

Lawrence, Kansas: the anti- Ferris Buehler city.

Who would have thunk it?

sweetpeagj 8 years, 10 months ago

Godot yes it is..consider this..I thought my son was in class everyday..three weeks after the fact that he had skipped two whole days and truant for five classes was I sent an e-mail about it. They had my home phone..my cell phone..both work numbers plus my e-mail. I took his butt to school, watched him walk in the front doors, then went on my merry way to work two full time jobs..but I am the bad parent because my son was truant? I am so thankful that the other three children of mine have never set foot into a public school and never will. They have complete control of the classes and students. Parents are required to attend all meetings immediately when they are called, not when it is apparent that there is a consistent and far reaching problem. It is stopped by all the authority involved in the childs education. The school, the teachers, the parents and the principal. I can see holding parents responsible when it has been a reaccuring pattern from junior high but with my son it was his senior year. Trust me, he was a great person and student until 12th grade. Then it was trouble from many avenues.

Godot 8 years, 10 months ago

Think of the messages Lawrence sends its kids: lay down in the street and disrupt traffic in name of protest, no penalty; camp overnight in public park for famiy outing, not OK, results in fine; camp overnight in public park for anti-administration protest, no penalty; cameras watching every move of students, OK; random police searches of students' lockers, OK; drug sniffing dogs in schools, OK; mandatory invasive breathalyzer tests for alcohol for all students entering student dances, OK. Smoking tobacco(which is a legal activity) in privately owned business, results in fine for business owner and employees; smoking pot (an illegal activity) results in appearance in municipal court with likelihood of no punishment.

Being late one hour as a Senior in High School, immediate referral to DA for prosecution with stated objective of preventing student from exercising statutory right to drop out of school, OK

Patriot Act: Lawrence does not participate because it infringes on civil rights.

Our kids must be reeling in moral and logical confusion.

Godot 8 years, 10 months ago

And, crossing guards waving and smiling to passing drivers, not ok.

Gulag 497

costello 8 years, 10 months ago

I think it's a hoot that they want to declare these 16 and 17 year olds, 'child in need of care.' Put them in a foster home, and they'll still skip school. I used to volunteer at the Douglas County jail - where a lot of former foster children reside - and one woman told me she ended up in foster care for being truant. They put her in a home in Emporia. She'd walk in the front door of the school and out the back door and spend the day having fun.

I know another foster dad who only takes teen boys. He's had several run away. When he calls the agency, he's told 'these things happen.' They don't even bother to track them down.

I'm adopting a foster child myself right now. He's 14 and truancy hasn't been a problem yet. But he's already hell on wheels to control, and I can easily imagine his being truant a lot in high school. Bio mom only went through ninth grade, and my son probably won't make it much farther. He's only been with me a year and a half, so I didn't have a chance to be an influence on him when he was young. I don't believe in spanking, but if I did spank him, SRS would be at my door in a heart beat taking him away. Should I be held accountable if he starts skipping school? And what will they do, put him back in foster care - where he'd continue skipping school - and send me the bill for his care?

Some of you have unrealistic expectations of how much a parent can do with a determined teenager.

And, by the way, I attended a CLE on the privatization of foster care a few years ago. Attorneys, judges, and social workers were there. Someone raised the question of whether truancy should lead to a CINC investigation. The reply was that when a child is truant there may be other problems at home - abuse, neglect, drug use, etc. The truancy issue was a good way of getting in and checking out the family!

costello 8 years, 10 months ago

I don't disagree with you, Jannie. That was my point exactly. The state is using truancy as an excuse to pry into more families.

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