02 March 2012

Curfew in Kansas City?

Less than two weeks from now there will be a vote on this proposal.  Any school-age child can be interrogated at the park or shopping center or... oh, just anywhere in Kansas City including the sidewalk in front of your house.  No crime needs to be committed for the cops to put YOUR kid into the paddywagon and bring him in downtown.  The officer simply needs to suspect that your child is truant.

First off, "compulsory education" is an oxymoron, but leaving that aside for the moment, there are about a dozen and one problems with this proposal.  I live about three blocks from Kansas City and parts of Kansas City are part of our school district.  Stay with me, now...

Today, my public-schoolers don't have school.  (It's Professional Development day, which means teachers are doing their dopey workshops and celebrating diversity and stuff.)  Kansas City School District (KCSD) schools are in session.  Were the law in effect today, my teens could be accosted for going to the park about a mile away from my house.

Guess what?  We also have spring break during an ENTIRELY DIFFERENT WEEK than KCSD.  And sometimes we call snow days and they don't.  Add to that the fact that our district has ten elementaries, bunches of middle schools and high schools that all have DIFFERENT start and end times and you can see where an officer might be confused as to what time "school" is really in session when he's thinking of picking up some random kid.

And I don't think my district is the only KC-area district with a few differences in attendance dates and hours than KCSD.  Nevermind that KCSD faces *immediate takeover* by DESE (Department of Elementary and Secondary Education) and DESE may decide to divvy up the district piecemeal to five *different districts* in the very near future.  Five different districts which may have different start and end times even within their borders.  Five different districts that have long weekends at different times.  (I'm counting about six in our district alone this year that are probably different from KCSD.)

I'm thinking cops have other things to do than carry ten different district schedules, and also worry about whether they're going to pick up the wrong kid sometime whose parents will start a stink in the media.  I haven't even gotten to this idea of homeschoolers being left alone just yet in my post, and I've been rambling for a while now.

HSLDA is currently collecting stories from homeschoolers who have been harassed or bothered in some way during the "school" day because of homeschooling.  They're encouraging members and other concerned people to email LegalC@hslda.org and promise to keep stories confidential unless specific permission is given to use publicly.

Sometimes it isn't even about homeschoolers.  Sometimes it's about American citizens of all ages having reasonable rights.  I wrote HSLDA and told them that as of right now, I've *never* been harassed by police or school officials for homeschooling.  And I'd like to keep it that way.

8 comments:

  1. PS I know that the law seeeems to give homeschoolers a pass as well as children whose schools are not "in session," but a careful reading shows that the officer will interrogate to determine these things. My children don't do well under such circumstances; how about yours?

    PPS I also know that they won't go onto your front yard and pester your kid *usually.* But LOOK at the houses and things closer to downtown. Where do the children play? On the sidewalk just outside their houses. Technically... a public place.

    I'm concerned that what will happen in *practicality* is that the inner-city black and Hispanic population will be harassed because often these folks are not able to fight back legally when they're unfairly targeted.

    I'm also concerned that this will set the cops against the community, or give the appearance that the cops are the bad guys to the populace. Which could pose a problem when they need to work on a real crime and need the community's cooperation.

    Cops just enforce. And yes, they will enforce a bad law, too. :/

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  2. Oh my gosh, that is so scary!!! Agh! Is this for EVERY state?

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  3. Okay,I reread it and missed the location at first. Wow, that is crazy. I seriously feel bad for the cops.

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  4. That is just stupid piled onto 'Let's waste some more manpower and taxpayer dollars'. I cannot imagine the work load the police force must already have, but then to be the ones responsible to chase down truant children on top of that is absurd. The cost of the gas money alone should tell them this is just ridiculous. I cannot imagine the truancy issue is to such a severe degree that it is now necessary to have the police involved. And that's if the kids in question are actually skipping school. It's a whole nother ball of wax if the cops are picking up kids who are SUPPOSED to be outside playing because they have the day off or are homeschooled. That's a lawsuit waiting to happen for the police to suddenly swarm innocent kids and hustle them downtown for questioning. I'd be LIVID if my daughter who is Aspie was picked up and taken in for questioning. The trauma to her would take months and months to undo, and that's if we are lucky. Take into account homeschooled children, disabled children, this just is not a good fit at all.

    Why don't they instead of harrassing ALL children who happen to be outside, have the schools take attendance as they are supposed to, and if a child who should be there is not and has no excuse...have the police go check on the specific kid? Less manpower, less wasted taxpayer dollars, and less kids being approached at random and taken in for a shakedown on a sunny day!

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  5. I find it odd that schools in the same districts (or anywhere) would have different start and end times, different long weekends? Different spring breaks? To my mind these things should be standard across the board.
    Perhaps when DESE takes over they will do this?

    I agree that it's ridiculous for kids to be picked up and interrogated, there are so many varied legitimate reasons why any paticular kid wouldn't be in school on any given day.
    Homeschoolers are going to have to stay in their own yards or risk being picked up....it's a terrible proposition.

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  6. Virginia, some crazy chick proposed that teens out past curfew (night) on weekends get picked up and tossed into one of KC's closed schools until Monday morning. She said they can set up cots and just hold 'em there. The cops said um, we will enforce any law that is set up but ma'am if you do that, our response time to other crimes is just going to HAVE to go down as we can't be in two places at once.

    http://www.kmbc.com/r/28895537/detail.html

    The idea died... and I hope this one does, too...

    Blondee, I absolutely agree. But I do see where these schools often serve a "transient" population, however, and it's somewhere between difficult and impossible for schools to keep track of everyone. But the "solution" proposed here is just entirely too far-reaching.

    River, I think any way the state takes over, we're still talking about the 'hood. I'm hoping they keep the boundaries very firm, NO schools being "gifted" over to the 'burbs because we don't want them, thankyouverymuch. If I wanted my kid to speak without using consonants or to join a gang, I'da moved out there to begin with. But if DESE says the schools are a gift to your district, it's an offer you can't refuse if you know what I mean.

    As to the staggered start/release times it's easy to explain: they are saving on buying and staffing busses. One bus does, say, a high school run first thing in the morning, then picks up for elementary #1, then elementary #2, then ferries kids to voc-tech from the high school. Lunch break. Take kids home from high school, then elementary #1, then elementary #2.

    Seriously. When they figure out who goes to which school, they use transportation software and squeeze the life out of things expense-wise. It's not about keeping kids at the school closest to them but about maximizing their resources (people on one side of the highway go to school A, the other to school B and nevermind if school A is closer to most people in school B. It's about that bus not having to spend extra time crossing the highway and/or packing kids from overcrowded school C into A because they didn't build school C properly... and so on...)

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  7. hmph. Should I be getting homeschooled t-shirt printed up for the kids to wear daily? I already have homeschool IDs in their wallets!

    My kids are both new drivers, and this certainly does worry me. An older homeschooled friend of my kids had to give a truant officer (who'd been stalking him every time he want to Starbucks) the what-for and threaten to sue him if he didn't back off.

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    Replies
    1. If he wins a boodle, he can go to $tarbuck$ every day and order TWO coffees! :)

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