by Susan Ryan
Those who deny freedom to others deserve it not for themselves.
There is a new movement afoot (literally) and it’s another creeping infringement on our freedoms.
As reported by the Lincoln Courier, the Lincoln council will vote on a new truancy/daytime curfew ordinance on Monday evening. They've been planning this for a year, but forgot to work with some of their constituents who will be limited by this action:
Neitzel recommended the council approve Bates' ordinance with none of the home-school parents' suggestions included. She did follow Anderson's sole suggestion - to expand the list of officials who can issue truancy citations to include a truancy caseworker from Lincoln Community High School.
Of course, truancy is not a good thing for a variety of reasons. What we often forget while discussing the ornery whippersnappers of this day and age is that our school employees are not engaging our kids enough in school to want to be there.
A daytime curfew is what this ordinance will basically become for any and all children who are on the street. If kids are heading to the library and the council follows up on Wanda Rohlfs' suggestion, they will be wearing a
yellow star badge when they step outside their home.
I think Wanda Rohlfs should always wear a badge.
The Lincoln Courier Truancy proposal rapped Published Wednesday, April 11, 2007
Alderman Wanda Rohlfs, who mentioned the possibility of badges identifying home schoolers, said, "I see an awful lot of kids in Scully Park," across from the Main Street Lincoln office she directs.
From the same article, this is what has made sense in that the community would expect the school districts and the Regional Offices of Education would do their job:
Rachel Whitesell, no address given, said, "The truancy problem seems to be in the public school system. If stronger truancy laws are needed, do it through the school system."
Tax money (lots of it) is already paid out for truancy officers and truancy programs. Rockford introduced a daytime curfew a couple of years ago. Lincoln is modeling their ordinance after Rockford's. I found it ironic that the kids were to pay a substantial fee and provide community service. If they’re missing school and those 3 R’s, how did money figure into the equation?
Needless to say, the school systems are fully supporting the influx of support from a new funding source. The Logan/Mason/Menard Regional Office of Education has instituted a SPIRIT program. From the Lincoln Courier's April article:
A spirit group at the 420-student junior high has provided the regional superintendent's office with the names of 80 students who have been truant, Bunner said today.
How creepy is that?
From the Lincoln Courier November 29th article:
[Regional Office of Education Superintendent]Anderson, who said her office's three-county truancy program now includes 400 students, is supporting the council's proposed ordinance as written by Bates. In fact, the ordinance notes that Anderson's office and "various school officials" had requested the council adopt the measure. It also states the Illinois School Code and Juvenile Court Act procedures on truancy matters are "time consuming and expensive and have proven to be ineffective in stemming the tide of truancy in the schools within the city."
The cities and towns are doing their job for them. The schools have the names, addresses and phone numbers of truant students, but the city will have to check with them or homeschooling parents to make sure they’re picking up the right kids. Because either way, at the least, this infringement on freedom will require ALL the kids be stopped and questioned.
The verdict is guilty before being proven innocent.
Be careful with truancy ordinance Lincoln Courier Editorial
Published Saturday, April 14, 2007