Thursday, March 22, 2012

Opposition from Parents Stalls KCMO City Council's Truancy Proposal

From Lynn Horsley at the KC Star:
"Members of the council’s Public Safety Committee said they were not yet ready to support a proposal to strengthen local laws against chronic truants and their parents. While Kansas City and Hickman Mills school officials had said it would help them deal with serious discipline and attendance problems, dozens of home school parents and children turned out to oppose the proposal.

Councilman Scott Wagner originally had introduced his measure as a daytime curfew law to deter children ages 7 to 16 from loitering unsupervised during school hours. The measure debated today removed language about a daytime curfew but still emphasized the importance of school attendance and included possible penalties for parents violating that responsibility.

Wagner told the committee that, under state law, it’s tough proving parents “knowingly” allowed their children to skip school. He said the city law would allow police to ticket parents, requiring counseling and parenting classes and possible fines.

“We do have students that are chronic truants and some parents we need help in holding accountable,” Kansas City School Board member Crispin Rea told the committee."
All responsible citizens agree that school aged children should be in school during the required hours. All responsible citizens also agree that irresponsible parents frequently breed juvenile delinquents. But even responsible parents find themselves increasingly handcuffed by an intrusive nanny state with laws regarding discipline of their own children. Schools face similar restrictions in the face of an ever more sue happy populace. In such an environment, the lawyers win, yet the children lose. And society at large is left to clean up the mess.

But the answer is not more laws with more restrictions which are virtually unenforceable by an already over worked police force. Besides, Missouri and the KCMO school district already have existing laws and policies concerning compulsory attendance (or truancy) on the books. The KCMO district virtually mirrors that of state law.

Missouri Revised Statutes, Chapter 167; Pupils and Special Services; Section 167.031 explicitly details "School attendance compulsory, who may be excused--nonattendance, penalty--home school, definition, requirements--school year defined--daily log, defense to prosecution--compulsory attendance age for the district defined."

Repeated and persistent violation of compulsory attendance laws is already a Class 'C' misdemeanor.

That's lawyer-ese for WE. DON'T. NEED. NO. NEW. STEENKING. LAWS.!! Simply enforce the existing ones.

Oh, and because I'm a nice guy, a little historical context about truancy laws.

(the kc star should be paying me for all this)
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