2009-12-03 - 1:28 a.m.
I am writing in response to the letter dated November 30th which I received today from $%&$^($^* , Attendance Officer
First of all I would like to point out an oversight: I share joint legal and physical custody of my children and note that Mr. WESTLEY was not included on the correspondence from the school.
While I can not speak for WESTLEY ,
I respectfully decline the opportunity to meet with %^$(^# this Friday morning Dec 4th to discuss concerns regarding our children. At that time I have the obligation of taking a sick child to the Dr. for a follow up appointment to tend to her asthma. Furthermore, I have no interest in re-scheduling as there is absolutely no need to discuss the fact our children are at times a few moments late for school at all. There is nothing to discuss. Both parents make every effort to get our straight A students to school on time, however we each are in the role of single parent head of household of four girls under Age 9, one of whom is diagnosed with a disability, such that even with best efforts, our children are occasionally late. The responsibility to address that concern is shared by Mr. WESTLEY and I alone, and is out of the domain and responsibility of Lincoln Elementary. Neither of us are interested in shifting any of our parental obligations onto the school. It is overreaching that an attempt has been made to mandate parents to attend a meeting setting a date and time without having even attempted to discuss availability or inquire if the parents have any interest in such.
There has been a grave error and misunderstanding of VA Code 22.1-254. The letter said "failure to attend this meeting may result in immediate court action in the County Juvenile Court."
That law allows the school to initiate an action with the Juvenile and Domestic Relations Court in the case of absences in which a parent or parents have not been aware and consenting of.
I have attached the law for your review. I really think it very important protocol that prior to threatening legal action one actually reads and familiarizes themselves with the law. Otherwise, one might just discover their intentions are not met, and there may in fact be unexpected consequences.
It might be worth pointing out that at this juncture the only one who actually has a cause of action at this time for any legal case happens to be me.
I do thank the absolutely wonderful support I have received in supporting my rights and dignity throughout the years in a variety of domestic issues , and in enforcing the law,over and over again, from the County Sheriff's Office. They have proved themselves to be knowledgeable of the law, respectful of the dignity of individuals, and marvelous in resolving issues which have been raised in a courteous, professional manner.
I do expect that the County Schools will take the opportunity to arise to the occasion to follow the Sheriff Department's outstanding example of professionalism. Should you have any further difficulty in understanding the law I recommend them as a wonderful resource.
I think it also worth mentioning that the school acted like that was so horrible for me to pick up a resistant child, yet on the occasion that Raitlin was not cooperative in going to her class I watched Mrs. $(%&@#&$, who so strongly objected to that technique I used with Katie, pick up Raitlin and carry her into Mr. $*%'s empty classroom such that she had a place to calm which was removed from the kindergarten class. I did not see any school personnel object and pull the child from her arms as was done to me.
I would like to share from the Juvenile and Relations Court site the overview of VA Code 22.1-254:
" Child in Need of Supervision meets one of these criteria:
To date, on the few occasions my children have been absent I have made the school aware that they have been due to illness or behavioral issues. On each occasion the school has been notified of such and it has never been a question that when my children were not in school whether they were in the care of either of their parents.
While I am educating you on law, I would also like to reiterate a few things which I have mentioned before:
As I have asked to be the first point of contact when a child under my custodial care has an issue, $($%#& Elementary has an obligation to follow through on contacting me first such that I have the opportunity to assist. It may be a surprise that when I ask that my next point of emergency contact be called from my list, that the school has a legal obligation to then follow the emergency instructions for my children's care when they are in my custodial care (which at this point in time is my nanny.) Only then if we are both unavailable should the third point of contact of Mr. Westley then be called.
I would like to add, that if the Attendance Officer had ample time on her hands to threaten parents with legal action at the juncture at which four children under the age of 9 have been tardy a total of 3,6,6 and 7 times, it seems very clear to me that there must not be significant issues in our schools which the truant officer is tending to. I recommend that serious consideration be made to eliminating the position completely in this time of economic shortfalls , as the capable Sheriff's Office will most professionally offer any assistance should compliance with compulsory education laws actually be required. The way I look at it, your truant officer seems to be more of a legal liability than an asset at this point in time.
§ 22.1-258 follows:
§ 22.1-258. Appointment of attendance officers; notification when pupil fails to report to school.
cc: Loudoun County Sheriff's Office patrol division; VA Secretary of Education;Govenor Kaine