Saturday, January 06, 2007

In Loco Parentis

Update: The legislation never got referred to the committee and as a result must be re-introduced next session. Unfortunately, Rep Kestell is retiring and Sen Leibham is running for Congress, so both of my legislators, who acted as sponsors for this legislation, are likely to be gone(although I will grant that Mr. Leibham will have stiff competition for Rep Petri's seat in Sen Grothman.)  I own to some disappointment. You may see the latest update here.

By now, any regular here knows Mom (Call Me Mom to be exact). Mom's had an open invitation to guest post here, and she dazzles with the following. Sit back, relax and enjoy.

"Where to begin? The topic is one that is near and dear to my heart and the hearts of all parents. It is but a portion of the topic of parental rights. There have been some judicial rulings made in the last 10-20 years which were meant to streamline the disciplinary process in our schools, but, instead they have stripped us of our parental rights during the time when our child is attending school. They have also left our children open to the most tyrannical interrogatory procedures I have ever heard of in these United States . I hope that you, gentle reader, will be motivated by the information presented here, to contact your own legislators and take back your parental rights.

To start, I shall inform you that you and the courts have granted school officials the status of “in loco parentis” for the hours that your children attend school. “In loco parentis” means nothing more or less than that the school is acting “in the place of a parent”. This is necessary for a number of reasons and is generally a reasonable thing. If your child is passing notes or being disruptive, this means that the teacher or principal can administer reasonable consequences within the parameters of school board policy and stated procedures.

We have a problem when the school official, while acting in loco parentis, is also acting as an agent of law enforcement. If little Johnny or Susie is passing notes or making a ruckus, it is reasonable for them to be sent to the office and disciplined by school officials. If, however, little Johnny or Susie are called into the office to be disciplined for or questioned about something that can be used to charge them in a criminal proceeding, what then is the school official’s proper role?

In my state, the association of school boards says only that school officials have the right to question a child about a crime because that is a violation of the school’s rules and as the “acting parent” they have to investigate to determine the level of discipline that is necessary. There is no conflict of interest, they say, because “that’s the current law of the land.” (May I say that the comments which immediately clamored for expression at this point in our conversation are best kept to myself.)

In case you don’t understand the ramifications of this, let me educate you. This means that as long as it is school hours, if your child is implicated in a crime, school officials can accuse your child of the crime, search their belongings, and interrogate your child until the end of the school day, without contacting you. They do not have to inform your child of his/her rights. They do not have to tell your child that they may have you or a lawyer present during this questioning. The school officials may lie to your child in order to coerce a confession.

To me, this is a huge conflict of interest. At this point the school official is clearly acting as an agent of law enforcement. (Unless you think a judge will believe your child‘s testimony over that of the school official.)I believe this is a direct conflict of interest with the parental role they have been temporarily granted.

Just in case you do not see the conflict here, let me revisit the in loco parentis role in a different situation. Say little Johnny or Susie fell down the stairs and broke their arm. You would expect the school to call an ambulance and then call you immediately. You do not expect them to try to set the arm themselves and send your child back to class without notifying you. School officials understand that this situation involves more than their temporary status of “in loco parentis” covers. They do not attempt to insert themselves into the role of medical practitioner without contacting you. Why then, should they think they can act as law enforcement without contacting you first? In an emergency medical situation, it is clearly understood by all that it is in the child’s best interests to have qualified medical help immediately. Why isn’t it understood that in a criminal law situation, a child’s best interests are served by having a parent and/or a lawyer present before questioning that child?

There has, unfortunately, been more than one case where students have been interrogated for hours and even unjustly expelled on the suspicion of committing serious crimes because someone told the office at school that they were talking about bombs, or explosions. (In case you don’t think that is serious let me assure you that it is. Making a false bomb threat is a felony punishable by up to 10 years in prison and $250,000.00 in fines. Juveniles are charged the same as adults and there is a zero tolerance policy. Do you think your child should be questioned on that kind of charge without someone informing you about it first?) Let me be clear, these children didn’t make bomb threats, someone else told school officials that they had been talking about bombs or explosions. These children were interrogated, had their belongings searched and in at least two cases they were expelled when they didn’t confess under questioning.

In the interest of protecting my child’s rights, I have contacted my state’s legislators to request that they draft legislation clearly stating that a parent (or in the case of an orphan- a sympathetic adult) must be present when school officials or police liaison officers to the school are questioning a student about a crime. I believe there will be an appropriate exception for hurry cases. (credible bomb threats, etc.)

I was informed such legislation had been discussed only to be dismissed due to logistical objections from law enforcement. I said I could understand that in a case where they pick some kid up off the street and he/she doesn’t want to divulge their name or perhaps they look old enough to know their rights already, but a school must have parental contact information. That is why the legislation I am requesting is limited to students and not minors in general. The fact that it had already been discussed tells me that this type of abuse of the “in loco parentis” status is more common than it should be.

Don’t wait until this happens to your child. Protect them now. Contact your school and ask what their policy is in these circumstances. If your child is vulnerable, first tell your school officials in writing that you rescind their right to act in loco parentis in this type of situation, and then contact your legislators and demand legislation to fix it. Then do what you can to support that legislation once it is introduced."

THE MONARCHIST ADDS: Thank you for the posting Mom. As a parent of two toddlers, I'm going to - when the time is right - remember to rescind the school's right to act as parent. If ever there was a cause that needed some grassroots activism, this sounds like it.


Terry Morris said...

Truly, Mom, I'm dumbstruck that you are able to write with such clarity on a topic that would, by its very nature, elicit the most passionate feelings and expressions thereof from any conscientious parent caught between his/her parental authority, and the (mis)application of "in loco parentis" toward a given child, in a given school, and under a given scenario.

Nice display of parental focus.

Anonymous said...

Thank you gentlemen. I just hope my legislators are able to get something drafted now that the next session has started.

Anonymous said...

Wisconsin politics is die hard liberal and corrupt, and the Teachers Union there is no different, this I know from 30 years of relation to a few who are involved.

That said: It still boils down to the parents and/or family! Why is the kid disruptive? Why does the teacher have to refer the kid to the authorities? Why is the kid so beligerent? Why is this a problem in the first place??

It starts at home! Kids should be taught respect and discipline at home. If I got in trouble in school I feared the consequences at home. Once again people are looking to the government to solve a problem that should have been solved at home.

If my child is implicated in a crime at school, he/she can count on consequences far worse than the school administrators will hand out.

We can legislate til were blue in the face (looks like we will), but until people take responsibility at home the problem will only get worse.

You want to protect your child's rights? Start at HOME!!

Anonymous said...

Mr. Wales,
Would you kindly re-read the post.
These are often children who have not done anything wrong. When they are interrogated, there are often coercive tactics used to get them to confess to wrongdoing.

Here's the scenario. Your child is discussing fourth of July fireworks, or the war in Iraq, or an explosive experiment in science class, or a recent bomb threat to the school - all legitimate subjects for conversation. Some other student in the cafeteria or the hallway overhears the conversation. They tell the office staff that your child was discussing explosions.
That is suspicion enough in the eyes of school officials to haul your child into the office, search their belongings, interrogate them until the end of the school day, and attempt to coerce them into confessing to (in the case of making a false bomb threat) a federal crime. All without contacting you.
You raised a decent kid who was having a legitimate conversation and at the end of the day, your child could be in custody because your school's administrators are abusing both their authority and their right to act "in loco parentis" to your child.
This is not to say reasonable disciplinary measures should be abandoned or that children should be allowed to get away with disruptive behavior. It is about a conflict of interests on the part of the school official who is doing the interrogating.
The school principal would not pretend that they could make serious medical decisions for your child(except to call an ambulance)on the basis of "in loco parentis", so why do they think they are entitled to make life affecting legal decisions?
They think so, because the courts have given them that right.
This does require a legislative solution.

Terry Morris said...

"We can legislate til were blue in the face (looks like we will), but until people take responsibility at home the problem will only get worse."

J, respectfully sir, is there something about Mom you've read in this and other posts that tells or impresses you that she has neglected her responsibility at home? Do you know something about her that I don't know, in other words?

Second, if you were accused (by one of your peers) of a serious crime, would it be just in your eyes to be questioned without the benefit of representation; to be subject, in that absence, to coercive attempts to extract a confession from you; to have your personal possessions searched and seized without the consent of anyone, including yourself? Would you not assert your rights as an American, and as a human being, to an impartial and lawful proceeding? And as a dependent child wouldn't you expect your parents to assert that right for you?

In other words, what, in the absence of legislation ("in pursuance thereof") would you lean upon in the event you were falsely accused of a federal crime?...the teaching you received at home, and the moral character it produced? C'mon.

Anonymous said...

.... Some other student in the cafeteria or the hallway overhears the conversation. They tell the office.......... That is suspicion enough in the eyes of school officials to haul your child into the office, .........a federal crime.

First of all, if schools called parents to represent their child everytime they were in the office we'd run out of visitor parking spots. If the administration is accusing your child of a "federal crime" I can assure you, that you and the local authorities would be notified before you could whistle dixie. Any interrogation being done by the administration would be to determine if it's a matter of school policy, or if it's a criminal act thats referred over to local authorities.

If little Suzie or Johnny committed a "crime" on school property, then you probably have a bigger problem on your hands than the fact that they were grilled by some assistant principal. Now you need a lawyer.

Mom, I have over 15 years married life to a teacher, I'm related to department heads, principals and administrators of public and private schools. These people are grossly underpaid for constantly babysitting 1st thru 12th graders that are mostly (not all) a bunch of spoiled brat momma's boys and girls "that have their rights", but know nothing of honor, loyalty and respect for elders, peers or authority. It takes alot of wisdom and discernment for teachers and administrators to weed thru the lies, deception and tales they deal with daily. The root cause of 99% of school disciplinary problems stem from the home life.

Maybe you have experienced an isolated school incident that has personally affected you, and I respect your resolve, but personally I dont feel legislation will change the protocol.

Mr. Webster, I have no reason to think Mom has neglected her parenting duties. It wasnt a personal shot at her as you think.

Second, students are questioned by teachers and administrators to determine if they (the student) have broken school policy, crimes are referred to the authorities whom would do the prosecuting. Believe it or not there are teachers and administrators that can weed out a false accusations.

My point is this: Instead of looking to legislation for what ails our system, let's start looking at the root cause instead. In this instance it would be a "false accusation", which would mean a lying kid.

Edmund Schrag said...

J Dubya,

I've been married only seven months, and I already know better than to make a woman ask you a second time to do something important, so I'll spare you the dismemberment ... read her post again. Why? Because you contradicted her on at least two points ... again. They really hate that.

Anonymous said...

I guess I'm blind so go ahead and point them out.

Newlywed eh? Belated congrats.


Terry Morris said...

J, I respect your point of view, and I'm all with you on getting to the root cause of the problem...I really am. But I think you're dead wrong as to the root cause in this case. However, I'm gonna exercise a little self-restraint and wait till Mom has a chance to answer you before I challenge you any further.

Fair enough?...

Anonymous said...

10-4 D.

Terry Morris said...

Okay, brother...thank you!


Anonymous said...

O.k. Mr. Wales,
Let's talk shall we? I too am related to several school teachers and administrators. I know how much crap they have to put up with too.
First, I think they are paid quite enough to "babysit our kids K-12. They knew what the job was before they took it, if they want to whine about being underpaid, they should move on. There are a lot of people who would love a shot at the hours and benefits teachers are paid here in Wisconsin.
Second,as to your statement: "if schools called parents to represent their child everytime they were in the office we'd run out of visitor parking spots" I think that would be a good thing. Most schools are crying out for more parental attention. You get parents involved it's better for the students.
Third, your statement that :"If the administration is accusing your child of a "federal crime" I can assure you, that you and the local authorities would be notified before you could whistle Dixie. Any interrogation being done by the administration would be to determine if it's a matter of school policy, or if it's a criminal act that's referred over to local authorities." is wrong. Quite wrong. Through a series of judicial decisions over the last 20 or so years, (TLO v New Jersey, Woffard v Evans and etc ad nausea) school officials are allowed to interrogate your child about a crime without calling you. And since it's so much easier for them to do so, why change it right? If some kids confesses to something they didn't do , it'll be sorted out after a few months of being suspended and maybe a little jail time , so why worry? At least that's the attitude I've been hearing. I think it's appalling.
Fourth, yes I have experienced an incident, but it is not isolated. When I contacted my legislators, they said they had already been considering such legislation, but law enforcement objected to it so strongly on the grounds of the logistics of contacting parents that they dropped it. I told them it was understandable for some kid they pick up on the street, but schools have contact information, so there is no reason a parent can't be contacted. If the parent says go ahead and grill little Johnny,I understand that your questioning of him can be used against him in a court of law, that's one thing, but to do so without even contacting a parent is wrong.
Fifth, in answer to :"students are questioned by teachers and administrators to determine if they (the student) have broken school policy, crimes are referred to the authorities whom would do the prosecuting." It simply isn't so. Crimes , according to the school board association fall under the heading of violating school rules, and so are fair game for interrogation by school administrators.
Sixth, your statement of :"let's start looking at the root cause instead. In this instance it would be a "false accusation", which would mean a lying kid" also is untrue. the child in the scenario I described did hear a conversation about explosions, one that is a legitimate topic for a school conversation. Unless, of course, you thingk freedom of speech should be limited to outside a school setting and that's a whole noter kettle of fish.

Anonymous said...

sorry about the spelling, I'm tired.

Anonymous said...

sorry I'm going to cut some of these sentences off because I'm tired, and lazy.

mom said:
....if they want to whine about being under paid, they should move on."

I didnt say anything about them whining about it, just stating I think they're under paid, at least in my district.

.....You get parents involved it's better for the students".

Starting at home would be nice, then parental involvement could move to school curricular involvement instead of disciplinary. But like I said before ("again" as Adams says), lack of parental involvement at home spills over to school problems. wrong. Quite wrong. Through a series of Judicial........

I would say there are differences in protocol used by the Board of Education or Administration where I reside, than where you reside. I dont know the particulars of TLO versus New Jersey, but I doubt it sets precedent where I live.

......If some kid confesses to something they didnt do, it'll be sorted out after a few months of being suspended and maybe a little jail time....

Why would a kid confess to something he DIDNT do?? Kids sometimes dont even confess to what they DID do!

Since when do kids get suspended for months, especially if a school board would most likely be staring a lawsuit in the face?

Since when do first offender juveniles spend jail time? Most juvie centers are loaded with multiple crime offenders.

What school district are you dealing with here? Milwaukee? It sounds like some very inept people that cant sort out a conversation.
Maybe your right, they are overpaid.

I respect you Mom and am not just trying to piss you off (pardon my french), I just dont believe legislation solves much nowadays, we should be repealling laws not making them.

Anonymous said...

Once more, into the breach.
Mr. Wales said :"lack of parental involvement at home spills over to school problems."
Don't you think having the parking lot full of parents on this matter would get people more involved at home and at school?

Mr. Wales said :"I dont know the particulars of TLO versus New Jersey, but I doubt it sets precedent where I live."
TLO v New Jersey went to the US Supreme Court. (As did most of the cases I looked at. )So, unless your current state has already passed legislation reversing or mitigating it, that makes it the law where you are too.

Mr. Wales said :" Why would a kid confess to something he DIDNT do??"
Gee, Mr. Wales I don't know, maybe because in order to get a confession, the principal or other school official lied to them saying they were going to go to jail anyway, but if they confess, he/she would see what they could do to get things worked out so it was just a suspension from school? (And please don't say that hasn't happened, because I have personal experience that it does.)

Mr. Wales said :"Since when do kids get suspended for months, especially if a school board would most likely be staring a lawsuit in the face?"
Perhaps you'd like to ask the Tanner children in Brown County about that. They were discussing some bomb threats that had been made at their school with a friend. The friend responded to a call from the office to tell them about anyone you may have heard talking about this bomb threat. They had their things searched and were interrogated until the end of the school day when they were sent home in tears. That was the first their parents heard about it. They were expelled and were still awaiting an appeals hearing 2 months later when someone else confessed to making the bomb threats. Also, since it is within the law for the school to do this, there was no fear on the part of the school or school board about any law suit.

Mr. Wales said :"Since when do first offender juveniles spend jail time? Most juvie centers are loaded with multiple crime offenders."
Really, Mr. Wales, did you read the post at all? Making a false bomb threat is a FEDERAL crime. There is a ZERO TOLERANCE policy in place. Juveniles are sentenced according to THE SAME guidelines as adults. The sentencing guidelines allow for up to 10 years in prison and up to $250,000.00 in fines. (And just by the way, isn't that a good enough threat to make some adults confess in hopes of leniency, much less some kid who doesn't know his rights or have a parent present to stand up for him/her?)

Mr. Wales said :"I respect you Mom and am not just trying to piss you off (pardon my french), I just dont believe legislation solves much nowadays, we should be repealling laws not making them. "
Mr. Wales, I am not p.o.'d. Well, at least not at you. I actually welcome your arguments as good practice for dealing with the objections I may encounter later. (Except for that tired and lazy comment, that was rude. I was posting late in the evening and there are other factors to my fatigue which I choose not to share with the world. Shame on you for making assumptions to the negative.)
I agree that there is too much legislation. However, as a parent, I require legislation on this to have the right to protect my child because the courts have made it the law of the land that I don't have that right in this situation. Or rather that I have the right, but the school is not required to let me know that it is necessary for me to exercise it.

By the way, I am in a small city whose school administrators should have more character (and more common sense) than they have displayed thus far in my dealings with them. But the very fact that legislation had already been under consideration for just this issue ought to tell you something about the way these situations are being handled in Wisconsin. I don't think Wisconsin is alone in this.

Mr. Wales, I know it is hard to believe that this could be a problem, but it is.

Anonymous said...

Ok Mom we'll wrap it up.

#1. More parental involvement at home would mean less cars in the parking lot for disciplinary involvement, that's all I meant.

#2. I'd have to look into my current state's stance on that court ruling. Fortunately to my knowledge it's not a problem here, and this state is notorious for going against the grain on many federal issues, thank God.

#3. If a principle coerces a false confession thru lying, it would be inadmissable evidence in a court of law, No?

#4. There's a difference between a suspension and expulsion, that's the first I read "expelled". Maybe its the same in your system.

#5. Before the juvenile spends time in jail they have to be found guilty by a court of law, then there sentenced. First time offender will get probation and community service, in almost all cases.

#6. The tired and lazy comment was referring to myself not you.

We do agree on one thing: the school administrators should have more character and common sense. If they cant differentiate and discern conversation hearsay between students, and sort thru it logically, then they shouldnt even be in that position.

It's a shame it has come to this, way to go Wisconsin.

Hope this dialogue prepares you for the battle.

Michael Tams said...


(looking around nervously)

Can I come back to my own blog now? It looks like most of the dust has settled. ;)

The cause of these issues, I think, is not a lack of parental involvement, but an intrusion by a bigger sphere of government (in the form of the school administration) into a smaller sphere's (the family) domain. We live in an over-lawyered society, and often times the only way to protect your rights is to work within that framework.

Anyway, thanks again Mom, for a thought-provoking, important posting.


Anonymous said...

Mr. Wales,
As regards:

# 3,Once a confession has been obtained, the burden of proving that the confession is false would be on the child(Well, really on his parents). That's a very heavy burden, with a confession to dispute it. Do you really want to have to go through that, much less put your child through it because some school principal was taking advantage of your absence?

#4 The news report I heard said expelled. There is a difference between expulsion and suspension.

#5 They will be arrested and put through the booking procedure, and possibly have to stay incarcerated if Mom and Dad can't afford bail. Once again, do you want your child put through that unnecessarily?

#6 My apologies, I just read it wrong, as I tend to be a bit of a perfectionist and was being appalled at my own spelling errors immediately before I read your post.

As for the battle, I just had an e-mail from my senator saying that the "bill drafting attorneys" are still looking into how it could be addressed legislatively. I don't know if that's good, bad or politician for we gave it a good try, but there's no way in (the hot place) that the law enforcement lobby or the education lobby will let it get through. I guess it doesn't really matter though because even an unjust judge will give in to persistence. Luke 18:1-9
I tend to be good at persistence.

Terry Morris said...

"It looks like most of the dust has settled."

You want that I should stir it up again? ;)

Anonymous said...

My apologies for making you the least bit nervous about commenting on your own blog Mr. Hamilton. :)

And Mr. Webster, please feel free to stir.
You may bring up some other vital bit of information I can use to get this properly legislated.

Mr. Wales, I thank you for your participation.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for your patience Mom, A.H., D.


Terry Morris said...

"And Mr. Webster, please feel free to stir."

Well alrighty then! ;)

I still think the "root cause" issue remains unresolved, having re-read everything. And getting to the root cause is extremely important, as J has noted. In getting to a proper legislative solution, the root cause must be addressed or J's fear becomes reality - more legislation piled upon more legislation.

J, for the sake of carrying this important discussion forward, is there something I'm missing which tells you that the root cause is a false accusation/a lying child? Upon what basis do you form that conclusion, in other words?

Anonymous said...

It's amazing how sheep-like people can be. In cases like this it would seem that following policy is more important that thinking on one's feet. It would seem little more than common sense to contact a parent in such a serious situation as when a child is suspected of making a bomb threat, but you know what they say about common sense.

In a semi-recent story that happened in Mt. Washington, KY, down the road from where I live, a young girl was working in a McDonalds when a phone call came in to the manager. The caller claimed to be a police officer and said the girl was suspected of stealing. Following the instructions of the caller, the manager (who, I might add, had similar in loco parentis responsibilities) had the girl strip naked, forced her to do jumping jacks, and with the help of other adults present, sexually abused and humiliated her. After several hours of this, someone finally stood up and said "What the hell are you people doing?!" All this was done at the bidding of a disembodied voice! Sheep, I'm telling you. Sheep.

If school officials can violate their in loco parentis obligations in the way you describe (not contacting parents when it is painfully clear that they should do so), it seems to me that rescinding their right to act as parent would remove all obligation to act in the child's best interest. It isn't clear to me how that would help.

Anonymous said...

Mr. Hargis,
I didn't remove their right to act in loco parentis completely, just in the specific situation of questioning my child about a crime.

I did that because the courts have said that it is because schools have the right to act "in loco parentis" in this situation, that they are able to question our children about a crime without notifying us.

I am hoping that a written statement from me makes it crystal clear, (or at least clear enough to make their legal dept. uneasy) that they no longer have that status in the extremely unlikely event that my child should ever be in that situation.

It also relieves them of the burden of having to act both as an agent of the state and a parent at the same time. They are free to act as an agent of the state. This should clarify the role they are taking since they don't seem able to address that conflict of interest on their own. This may seem short sighted, but I have also made it quite clear in the letter that they are not to question my child about a crime without the presence of a parent or an attorney who is acting on our child's behalf.

I heard about that McDonald's and several other similar incidents. How appalling.

Anonymous said...

I was just relating to Mom's analogy about a false accusation by a child, I wasnt saying all kids are liars by any means.

I hadnt heard Mr.Hargis' McDonalds story, but if it's true it is certainly appalling to say the least. Once again the root cause is the people involved (caller, manager, co-workers). Lack of common sense is putting it mildly.

Citizens, parents, students, teachers, administrators, managers, co-workers and the rest of America could all use a double dose of common sense. Oh! especially our beloved friends in Washington, cant forget them!!!LOL!

Anonymous said...

Hello ,
Just a note to wind this up. On Friday, we received a letter in the mail from the superintendent's office.

It said in part:

"Recently, six students at (the middle school) and (the high school)have been found to be in possession of illegal prescription medication in school, which resulted in their expulsion from school and issuance of criminal charges by the police. In all of these cases, the students reported that these drugs were taken from their own family medicine bottles and cabinets without the knowledge of their parents."

The letter was to encourage parents to inventory the contents of their own medicine cabinets and talk to their kids about the dangers of misusing prescription drugs.

I could only think, "The students reported", eh? I wonder if they had lawyers or parents present when they "reported" to someone that they had committed what might be a felony? (I think it depends on which drugs they had.)

Maybe those kids will be referred to a drug treatment program instead of jail. Maybe they need to go to jail. Either way, it seems to me that a parent would have addressed this problem differently.

Anonymous said...

I dont know Mom, I guess we see this from very different perspectives.

Again I say it starts at the home level. We have prescribtion drugs a teen wants to take, use, sell or whatever. Possibly Vicodin, Valium, Percocet, Loritab or a myriad of other painkillers, uppers, downers or "stress relievers" that the parents have on hand. Monkey see, monkey do!

To me it seems obvious that the parents "have not addressed" the problem, maybe they "are the problem".

Sounds like the school system has a 'zero tolerance' policy, which some of the students are failing to adhere to.

Anonymous said...


I guess I was assuming that the in loco parentis thing was all or nothing. Having played football in high school, I should know better than to assume anything.

J., the McDonald's story is quite true, and happened in several other states as well. When I came upon the story it was probably a year or so old. Not sure about the manager's status, although I'm given to understand she has left town. (Yes, it was a female.) Good thing for her, too. Around these parts, treating a young girl like that can get you fed to the hogs.

Anonymous said...

Mr. Hargis,
I believe they wouldn't let your child attend anymore were you to revoke in loco parentis status completely. I imagine the liability issues alone would make it impossible to have your child at the school building, let alone in class being taught things if you revoked it entirely.

You do the same thing when you hire a babysitter. You are granting them temporary parental status so that there is an adult to act for them should they get into trouble or need medical help.

My prayers to those in Oklahoma who have been without power for this last bit.

Anonymous said...

Mr. Wales,
I think Mr. Webster was right, you are missing the point here.

Picture this: YOU are asked to come into the police department to answer a few questions.

Immediately you expect certain things. First, you expect to be treated as though you are innocent until you are proven guilty. Second, you expect to be told whether or not you are being charged with a crime before you are asked any questions concerning it and, third, if you are being charged with a crime, or if you believe that you will be charged with a crime as a result of this questioning, you expect to be able to have a lawyer present to advise you as to which questions you should or should not answer at this time.

You expect these things regardless of whether or not you are guilty because this is your right as an American citizen.

It has nothing to do with your moral fiber or training, it has everything to do with your rights as a citizen of this country. When you assume that these kids are guilty,you demonstrate the wisdom of our founders. Those kids may have had a legitimate reason to have those medications in school, we don't know. They may have confessed under coercion after being presented with evidence that was obtained by a search of their locker or personal effects. Someone else may have put those medications in their locker by mistake, or have slipped them into someone else's things to avoid being caught with them themselves, we don't know. My feeling is, as yours is, that they probably are guilty and abusing prescription drugs. That they need help at home and moral fiber. That's not the point.

When school officials question a student about a crime, they are stripping the student of these rights. Students being questioned in the principal's office do not have the benefit of being in a police station to know that they may be confessing to a crime for which they will be prosecuted. Nor are they granted the blessing of a parent to guide them or to recognize the prosecutorial nature of the questions.

Yes, it is easier for the police and school officials to have it so, but that doesn't make it right. The Bill of Rights isn't about making it easier to prosecute criminals. It is about making it more difficult to prosecute innocent people.

Anonymous said...

Mom said:

"those kids may have had a legitimate reason to have those medications in school".

Obviously not if they were expelled for it. Student medications are supposed to be held and administered by the nurses office, no? Basic policy students are aware of.

"they may have confessed under coercion after presented evidence from locker search or personal effects".

Locker searches and the like have been around for 40 years, a locker is county property, they'll never stop that practice.

"Someone else may have put those in their locker by mistake ......."

That's the oldest excuse in the book, I used it for crying out loud!

what your saying is anytime a student breaches a school policy of some sort during school they shouldnt be questioned by the administration?? Or they need to have a lawyer or their parents there so they dont same too much or admit guilt?

The only people who benefit from this is the lawyers!! You will create more defiant kids that every time an administrator turns around the kid will be screaming for his attorney (or mommy/daddy).

I personally dont feel "more legislation" will protect anyone, nor does it solve the core issue of personal/parental responsibility.

Michael Tams said...

J, would you be OK with teachers or administrators acting as parent in other ways, say, beating your kid or kids? I ask as a veteran of Catholic schools, and I'm genuinely curious, thanks.


Anonymous said...

what your saying is anytime a student breaches a school policy of some sort during school they shouldn't be questioned by the administration?? Or they need to have a lawyer or their parents there so they don't same too much or admit guilt?"

No Mr. Wales,
What I am saying is that if the administration is questioning a student about a CRIMINAL charge, something for which prosecution in the courts will follow, then YES, they should have a lawyer present, just like YOU would expect to. And failing that, they should at the very least have Mom and/or Dad present or at least notified so that Mom and Dad can do their best to make informed decisions regarding the course of their child's immediate future.

Or are you saying that it's o.k. for school officials to ruin your child's future without so much as a "by your leave"? Your argument, is that if parents did a better job, that little Johnny or Susie would never get into that kind of trouble. That argument presupposes guilt on the part of little Johnny or Susie and it presupposes infallibility on the part of the school administrator doing the accusing/questioning. I don't know who you're working with, but given my recent experiences and human nature in general, I'm just not willing to grant you either of those things.

On a related topic:
What if school administrators said that legally , since they have the right of "in loco parentis" during school hours, the hospital or doctor didn't have to call you to perform medical procedures on your child during school hours? (Oh, by the way the school nurse said little Susie was too fat so we ordered a lap band procedure for her. The school nurse and the principal thought little Johnny was limping so we ordered the full medical workup for him, just to be safe. He said it was because he stubbed his toe, but better safe than sorry, he is our star QB you know, your bill will be in the mail.)

What if they decided, without your consent, to give your child a tattoo, identifying them as a member of the student body of that school?

What if they decided that it was in the best interests of the school and the child to have that child sedated during school hours so they just gave him tranquilizers when he /she arrived without ever telling you because they have in loco parentis status? Would those things be o.k. with you too as long as it's more convenient for the school?

Exactly how far DO you trust your school officials to do what is best for your child? I have to ask, because you seem to be a lot more trusting than I am. You also seem a lot more willing to flush your kid's God given and Constitutionally affirmed rights down the toilet than I am. See, I'm thinking those rights belong to all uf us, not just those who live perfect lives.

Way to call it Mr. Webster. Thanks again for the opportunity to fine tune my foundations here JW.

Anonymous said...

So every time a kid is called into the office for a policy infraction that could be remotely "criminal" related, e.g. talking about explosions, drugs, drinking, sex with girlfriend, skipping out /truancy, wreckless driving, fireworks, smoking in the bathroom, etc. etc. the administration shouldnt be able to question the student until his lawyer, mom/dad, district attorney, police officer and stenographer are all present for a fair questioning session? Your dreaming!!

Mom said:

".... What if...What if...What if.."

We can come up with a million "what if" nightmare scenarios and legislate a million laws to try and deal with them.

WHAT IF people start using a little common sense or take more personal responsibility.

I guess my school system here needs to get with the program and get rid of "the pledge", "prayer before ball games", "bible classes" as electives and "christmas programs", it's clouding my mind of the real world.
Yes, this is a public school system.

If your school system is as inept as you say, I'd pull my kid out pronto.

Anonymous said...

First of all not all those things you referred to are criminal, nor would they occur on school property. (Unless you've got a really bad Driver's Ed teacher.) But, YES, if my kid was overheard talking about explosions and the principal wants to use that as an excuse to indulge in a minutes to hours long interrogation procedure that involves an attempt to coerce my child into admitting guilt for a felony, I had BETTER be called first.
If my kid is going to be facing charges of any sort, YES! I'd BETTER be called first. Would that be inconvenient? Sure it would, but that's my job as a parent. Would it be inconvenient for the school,? Yes, but if they are really acting "in loco parentis", they would recognize it as their responsibility.
You call for more parental involvement, well here it is! If a parent is being repeatedly called into the office to face this situation for their child, one might think they would get the message. And, if administrators knew they would have to deal with parents during questioning, it would encourage a lot more common sense and restraint on their part as well.
Also, if you had paid attention to my earlier response to you, you would've seen this:
"...schools have contact information, so there is no reason a parent can't be contacted. If the parent says "go ahead and grill little Johnny, I understand that your questioning of him can be used against him in a court of law", that's one thing, but to do so without even contacting a parent is wrong." (A callous and irresponsible thing for a parent to do unless little Johnny has not responded to efforts to improve his character in the past, but I digress.)

And as for the logistical nightmare aspect of it, I think that getting parents involved in this way ought to make it crystal clear to any community just exactly how vital the role of parent is, in developing moral character as well as demonstrating why it is necessary to have moral character. You sir, are demonstrating perfectly exactly how far we have come from proper teaching and personal responsibility. "The: "If the kid is called into the principal's office and expelled-Good! They shouldn't be behaving that way. What's wrong with their parents? Maybe a little jail time will teach them to behave." attitude is a prime demonstration of the affect of the nanny state on all of us.

I say that because you haven't addressed the meat of my last post. That being, that when you voice your opinion that these kids need more parental guidance at home so they don't get into this situation, you are presupposing guilt on the part of the child,(Last I heard a person was "innocent until proven guilty" in the U.S.A.) and you are presupposing infallibility on the part of the school official. (I don't know anyone who's never been wrong. Whatever happened to:“It is better that ten guilty persons escape than that one innocent suffer.”~William Blackstone) You are also assuming that this would never be your child, so exactly whose child are you willing to sacrifice on the altar of convenience here? All the children in "bad" school districts? Or just all the "bad" children?

And further, how do you suppose our children will be able to defend the "Blessings of Liberty" unless they learn that they too, are entitled to them? Like it or not JW, These children are the next generation. If they don't learn the how and why of protecting and using those God given rights, we will not have them for long. You may not like it that a misbehaving child should have the same rights as an American citizen that you do, but that doesn't change the truth of it. It may be a logistical nightmare for all parents to attend for every criminal questioning, but that does not make it any less the right thing to do. I didn't say it would be easy, cheap or convenient. I said it was the right thing to do.

As for, "If your school system is as inept as you say, I'd pull my kid out pronto" we have been examining the alternatives to best achieve our educational goals for our child ever since. That does not relieve me of my responsibility to address this issue.

Yes, parents should do a better job with their children's moral upbringing. I agree. We can sit around and talk about "shoulds" all day, but that won't churn the butter sir.

I cannot help but think the Good Lord put this issue in my path for a reason and I cannot in good conscience ignore it because I'm "too busy" to do something about it for the rest of the kids in my community ... and yours.

Anonymous said...

I'll try to be brief.

All those things I listed at some point could become "crimes", and easily take place on school grounds.

Here's an infraction scenario.

#1 firecrackers at school infraction:

That said, now enters Administration involvement to determine said infraction. The administration talks (interrogates as you say) to the alleged perpetrator of said infraction to determine action to be taken, if any. After interviewing alleged perpetrator about the incident the administration determines it was a school policy infraction and suspends the kid, calls his mommy and says come pick up Johnny.

#2 brings gun to school.

the interview (interogation) reveals that not only has school policy been broken but a crime has also been committed on school grounds. So the administration calls the police immediately.

No, wait! We cant confiscate the gun or call the authorities until his mom or lawyer gets here to defend him? Great! Now we got a nervous armed kid going into a panic waiting for his mom who works an hour away!

mom said:

"you sir are demonstrating perfectly exactly how far we have come from proper teaching and personal responsibility."

I'm the one who's been calling for instilling integrity, character and discipline into these kids at home so we dont have these situations you are talking about in the first place!! Also, if my kid gets arrested your damn right their gonna sit a night in jail so they can think long and hard about the consequences involved in their actions. A night in jail will do wonders for a teenagers world view. FYI: You can sit a night in jail without being charged, happens all the time.

The "nanny state" your accusing me of is exactly what your trying to do more of: LEGISLATE!! To protect us from OURSELVES and morons that may have made their way into a position of authority making stupid decisions.

Your the one who wants the goverment to protect you thru more LEGISLATION, that's an oxymoron.

Sorry, it wasnt so brief.

Anonymous said...

Are you reading what I'm posting and thinking about it or are you just giving me your reaction to it from the point of view of someone married to a school teacher and related to department heads who "are grossly underpaid for constantly babysitting 1st thru 12th graders that are mostly (not all) a bunch of spoiled brat..." (Aren't they supposed to be educating them?)

You said:
"No, wait! We cant confiscate the gun or call the authorities until his mom or lawyer gets here to defend him? Great! Now we got a nervous armed kid going into a panic waiting for his mom who works an hour away!"

Once again, JW, Did you read the post?
" I believe there will be an appropriate exception for hurry cases. (credible bomb threats, etc.)"

You quoted me saying:
"you sir are demonstrating perfectly exactly how far we have come from proper teaching and personal responsibility." I said it and I stick by it. You are, because you are being lazy and expecting the public school officials to do your job as a parent for you. It is YOUR job to make sure that your child knows that if they break the law, you will take them to the police station where they will be expected to turn themselves in. However, it is also your job to, FIRST, protect and defend them from anyone who would deny them their rights as an American Citizen, and this is what you are refusing to recognize. Instead of recognizing that these essential rights have been stripped from our children and ourselves and fighting to restore them, you are going on about how they "shouldn't" be necessary if parents were doing their job correctly.

This right of a school official to interrogate(and yes, that is the proper term for what is being done) a student without regard to his/her God given and Constitutionally affirmed rights is wrong. It was CREATED by the courts, for the CONVENIENCE of school and law enforcement officials. Therefore it requires legislation to put it back to the way it should be. And if that means that the entire nation is inconvenienced to set it right, then so be it. That is our duty as American citizens to our posterity. Yes it is terribly inconvenient given what our nation's schools have become in many places, but that's the job before us.

If parents today are so blind to the necessity of instilling principals and moral values in their children that they are willing to strip them of their rights and let the school officials do all the hard decisions regarding discipline, then they need to be terribly inconvenienced until they get the message.

JW said:
"I'm the one who's been calling for instilling integrity, character and discipline into these kids at home so we dont have these situations you are talking about in the first place!! " Once again you are assuming infallibility on the part of the school official and guilt on the part of the student being questioned. These are not assumptions that you can make and stay within the intent of the Founders.

You are also assuming that if everyone was a perfect parent, there would be no children who would be placed in this situation. (And you are calling me unrealistic?)

Honestly JW, why is it so hard for you to get this? Do you really think that having been given the authority to do so, no school administrator would trample a student's rights rather than give them the protection they should be entitled to under the Constitution? Do you really believe in this world we have today that there wouldn't be any abuse of such authority?

Is it that you just think most of the kids today are bad apples who don't deserve to have those same rights that you and I expect?

Or is it that you can't comprehend anything but the huge inconvenience to the school system if our school officials were required to accord these rights to our children? Is it really so incomprehensible to you that our children require and deserve this protection? Are you really so overwhelmed by the thought of all those cars in the parking lot that you are willing to leave our children unprotected by the basic rights that you and I expect rather than correct the injustice that is being done for the sake of CONVENIENCE?

JW said:
"Also, if my kid gets arrested your damn right their gonna sit a night in jail so they can think long and hard about the consequences involved in their actions. A night in jail will do wonders for a teenagers world view. "
Once again, you are assuming that the student is guilty. Glad to hear you think a night in jail for doing nothing wrong will do your kid's character some good. Oh and I hope you know who they'll be sharing that cell with during their night in jail.

Ya know, I'm awfully glad that your kids are in such a wonderful public school, but do you think you might take a bit of time to consider the rest of us? You know, those of us whose school officials aren't paragons of virtue who are never wrong and can tell a lie from the truth without batting an eye, so that a child's parents need not be bothered with the petty details of protecting their child's rights?

JW said:
"Your the one who wants the goverment to protect you thru more LEGISLATION, that's an oxymoron."

I don't want the government to "protect me through more legislation". I want the government to do it's job and correct the error of the judicial branch so that my child's rights are restored to what they were before the judicial branch meddled so alarmingly with them. The fact that it would be terribly inconvenient to school officials and law enforcement doesn't matter a hill of beans to me. It is inconvenient to make sure you are not violating someone's rights while you investigate a crime. It should be. This is an imperfect world and inconvenience is a fair price to pay to "secure the blessings of liberty to ourselves and our posterity".

Sorry Mr. Hamilton, I guess it wasn't safe yet.;)

Anonymous said...

your as good as twisting everything I say, as you say I twist what you say.

As much as I would like to counter your personal jabs at me, I shall refrain.

Obviously the school system you refer to has a serious administrative problem by falsely accusing innocent children.

If you feel that more government legislation is going to put a stop to abusive school officials, then knock yourself out.

Anonymous said...

Mr. Wales,
Truly, I am not trying to twist what you say. I am simply trying to point out that your argument is flawed. I don't recall saying anywhere that you were twisting what I say either.

I apologize for the personal jabs and there were a few as I find myself despairing of the rest of the country if I cannot convince you, sir, that our children are in a precarious place and unless we correct it, the price in our personal liberties will be higher than I am willing to pay.

The school system I am having to deal with here does have a number of flaws. However, the fact that legislation was already under consideration before I brought it to the attention of my elected officials tells me that this is not an isolated incident and that it needs to be addressed legislatively.

And once again, the problem is not the false accusation of innocents,(although that is what alerted me to the nature of the problem) but the fact that our children are being denied their basic God given and Constitutionally affirmed rights. This was done by the no doubt well intentioned, but terribly misguided attempts of the judiciary to streamline the disciplinary interface between school administrators and law enforcement by cutting parents out of the equation and denying students their Constitutional rights.

I am not so unrealistic as to think that this badly needed correction will put a stop to abusive school officials. I do hope it will restore basic civil rights to our children and put parents back into the equation.

What say you sir? Will you accept my apology for the personal jabs?

Anonymous said...

I thank you and accept your apology.

As you know my wife is a teacher, so I am her ear to blow off steam to from time to time (seldom).

I cant count how many times I've heard how a parent is outraged that there "little angel" is failing, not learning fast enough, misbehaving or the like at school. This same "angel" will fall asleep, disrupt, fidget, not listen, talk back, not do homework and many other countless 'fine qualities' they have. But you know who's fault it is to the parent? THE TEACHERS and ADMINISTRATORS!! They (parent) dont care if the teacher has bent over backwards, spent triple the time with or tutor them, IT"S STILL THE SCHOOLS FAULT, my kid is failing!

Being a teacher or administrator is a very tough balancing act, and you wont make everyone happy all of the time.

I'm just not big on legislating problems away cause they'll find another way around it.

God bless you Mom for your concern for the schools up there.

Michael Tams said...

Mom and J,

Here's my take on the matter...

Where rights have been usurped by judicial action or legislation, the only proper means of correction is legislation.

For example, although in my deepest desires I wish that the states didn't have to respond via legislation to the train-wreck that was the Kelo decision, that remains the only proper (read: meaningful) action to correct the wrong.

J, you're not wrong that keeping a clean house will eliminate many pests. But there are some things - like a rattlesnake nest under your porch - that just require bringing out the exterminator.

Love you both for your passion!


Anonymous said...

Hmmmm, the Kelo decision? Truly a total disaster, excellent example there A.H. . I'll mull over the similarities.

Terry Morris said...

"Where rights have been usurped by judicial action or legislation, the only proper means of correction is legislation."

Well, short of a public lynching, yes, I would agree. ;)

This turned into quite an interesting exchange in my absence. Sorry I missed it, but I was indisposed.

J, tell me, do mountain climbers/high adventurers make a contribution to this your opinion?

Nah, don't answer that, man, it's just an inside joke. Carry on.


P.S. To all you (local) folks who foolishly begged, borrowed, and stole under the false impression that fema was going to bail you out of your shoulda paid more attention!

Anonymous said...

Here's a question: Does the presumption of innocence apply anywhere outside of a courtroom? Legally speaking, I mean. If a child is accused of an offense that could result in expulsion, but not prosecution, do school officials have any legal obligation to presume the urchin innocent until proven guilty?

Let me try to refine this argument a little. Prudence would dictate that judgement be withheld until all the relevant evidence was in. In the meantime, though, does the principal have any obligation not to engage in "prosecutorial" grilling of the student?

Speaking of train wrecks, we had a bad one in Bullitt county the other day. Several cars full of noxious chemicals burned for nearly two days, causing some folks to have to evacuate their homes. No one died that I know of but several people have been treated for respiratory problems, burning eyes, etc. In what I can only assume is an effort to avoid lawsuits over the accident, CSX is offering to pay $100 to every household in the county. Smart idea...if it works.

Anonymous said...

Mr. Hargis said:
does the principal have any obligation not to engage in "prosecutorial" grilling of the student?

Mr. Hargis, that is an excellent question. It goes right to the heart of the conflict of interest here.

The short answer is no, unless your school official is a person of high moral and ethical character.

As the "acting parent", the school official may feel he/she not only has the right, but is required to engage in "prosecutorial grilling" before doing anything else. In the case of a less serious problem, (being disruptive in class or throwing food in the cafeteria, etc.), that is a reasonable thing.

However, in the case of a criminal offense, such interrogation clearly falls under the obligation to act as an "agent of the state" if not officially as an "agent of law enforcement".

Ideally, all school officials would take the high road and realize that the consequences of such questioning certainly warrant the presence of a parent or lawyer. Their obligation then would be to call a parent before proceeding.

Those less high minded or lacking in character may feel that they, having the right, to engage in such prosecutorial grilling, without the constraints that apply to law enforcement, have an obligation to the state,(their employer) to take advantage of that right to ease the job of law enforcement by obtaining a confession in that short window of time available before the parent finds out what's going on. That is what has been happening in Wisconsin and no doubt around the nation.

When the courts had to deal with cases where the parent protested that since school officials were acting as an agent of the state in interrogating their child about a crime, they should have been required to inform the student of their rights and contact the parents. The judges said that such a requirement would be too inconvenient and burdensome for the school. They used this reasoning to strip students of their right to be informed of their rights(to have a parent or lawyer present during questioning, to remain silent,etc.)and to strip parents of their right to be informed that their child was in this precarious position. (In fact, choosing to remain silent has effectively been rendered useless to the student as a way to protect themselves. That choice on the part of the student also gives the school official the right to assume guilt and expel the student on the strength of that assumption. At least if I read that bit correctly, that's what it means.)

I agree that it will be burdensome and inconvenient for the school, however I don't believe that inconvenience is reason enough to strip American citizens of their God given and constitutionally affirmed rights. If schools are unable to function due to the number of such cases they have to deal with, then so be it. Let it be a starting point for re-evaluating the entire philosophy behind our current school system.

Anonymous said...

I'm glad that you weren't injured Mr. Hargis. I hope your emergency response personnel were as efficient and professional as one would like them to be.

Michael Tams said...

Mr. Hargis,

$100? Are they kidding? I have some understanding of how these things work (trade secret I can reveal offline if you'd like), and I'd tell them to add a zero or two and you'll personally guarantee that everyone in the County gets on board.


Anonymous said...

In an effort to correct some of my errors in this discussion I am posting this press release which I received today.

Howard-Suamico School District of Green Bay, Wisconsin
Convicts an Innocent Student of a Bomb Threat
On October 2nd, 2006 at approximately 3:30 in the afternoon, Cody Tanner was standing in front of his driveway with three friends and his sister Sahara. Cody asked the question, “What if someone put a bomb in our school?” A short discussion occurred with one of the friends. The following morning a written terror threat was found in a bathroom at Bay View Middle School. Cody’s comment was reported to school officials, by the friend who had discussed Cody’s question. The friend wanted the $50.00 reward the school was offering.
Over the next two weeks an investigation took place at Bay View Middle School involving Cody and his sister Sahara. School officials and Brown County Sheriffs Department officials utilized military style interrogation methods on the children. The parents where not notified of the interrogation of their children. The children where not informed of their legal right to remain silent or have a parent present. Unethical and illegal methods were used by school and sheriff’s officials in obtaining testimony and evidence from children.
12 year old Sahara Tanner, was left alone in a room with a male detective who is believed to have criminally assaulted her during the interrogation. Bay View Middle School’s police liaison officer Haney admitted to the parents, “He was hard on Sahara, really hard on her!” The investigation continued without any success in finding a guilty party. Cody and Sahara became the center of attention during this investigation. Investigators commented, to the parents, that they were being pressured to find someone guilty.
On October 17th, 2006 Cody Tanner was suspended. The reason for his suspension was Cody’s comments caused the bomb threat to be conveyed in violation of state and federal law. The parents of Cody Tanner offered to pay to have the terror note finger printed and analyzed to prove his innocents. They were denied. Steven Meyer, principle of Bay View Middle, told the parents, “It doesn’t matter if Cody wrote the note or not, his words are on the note.” The terror note spoke of 5 eighth graders coming to school with guns and killing everyone and putting bombs in the school. The note was very much different than Cody’s comment.
The parents received a certified letter from Steven Meyer one day after a five day deadline to appeal the suspension. The parents were told they would receive a fair expulsion hearing on November 3rd, 2006 with an independent hearing officer, and would be able to present evidence and witnesses. Cody’s attorney, twice, requested copies of the evidence and list of witnesses that would be used against Cody, in preparation for the hearing. Damian LaCroix, superintendent, refused their attorney’s request.
Evidence used against Cody during the hearing and the method of investigation would not have been admissible in a court of law. It was discovered the independent hearing officer was actually compensated by the Howard-Suamico School District. Cody Tanner was not able to fairly and justly represent his case. It was ruled that Cody Tanner be expelled on the grounds his comment was a threat and caused a bomb threat to occur.
On November 13th, 2006 the Howard-Suamico School Board voted to uphold the decision to expel Cody Tanner from Bay View Middle School. The parents of Cody Tanner were denied an opportunity to make a statement and present evidence to the Board of Education prior to its vote.
Multiple threats continued during Cody’s suspension and expulsion. On November 27th, 2006, Bay View Middle School investigators obtained a confession from a student admitting responsibility for authoring all the written threats. The guilty student did not know Cody Tanner or have any association with Cody or his friends.
Cody Tanner was innocent of any wrong doing, and the question he asked his friends, while in his driveway, in no way caused a bomb threat or caused any threatening behavior to occur at the school. The attorney for Cody and the parents contacted Damain LaCroix, superintendent to have Cody’s record cleared and be allow back in school. He was denied!
Cody Tanner’s and his sister Sahara Tanner’s constitutional rights and legal rights where violated by school and police officials. Other parents and students of Howard-Suamico School District who have been mistreated by school officials are going public and organizing. All the parents of Howard-Suamico School District and the state of Wisconsin are being informed of what is occurring and what can happen to their children.
The parents of Howard-Suamico School District, will not tolerant the unconstitutional, unethical and illegal behavior of school officials. They expect, the immediate termination of the superintendent, Damian LaCroix, principle Steven Meyer, and liaison officer Haney for supporting and participating in unconstitutional, unethical and illegal behavior.
Cody Tanner’s attorney is appealing to the state superintendent and serving notice of a civil lawsuit. They have contacted and reported to the state office and national office of the American Civil Liberties Union. They have received support from Senator Hansen, Senator Ellis and Representative Suder of the Wisconsin State Legislature. The Office of the Governor of Wisconsin has been contacted and informed. They expect Cody Tanner’s school record be cleared of the expulsion and receive restitution for what has occurred.
Both public and political action will be utilized to remove any Howard-Suamico Board of Education member who continues to support unconstitutional, unethical and illegal behavior of school officials. Organized parents and other experts in child behavior, will continue to shine a bright light on the behavior of school officials, until school systems follow and protect the constitutional and legal rights of children.
Note: WLUK FOX 11 NEWS ran a local story. For copies contact:
Becky DeVries
787 Lombardi Ave
PO Box 19011
Green Bay, WI 54307-9011
Michael P. Tanner
Sherri K. Tanner
Parents of Cody Tanner
1460 Maple Hills Drive
Green Bay, WI 54313
James Shilobrit
Rizzo & Diersen, S.C.

Terry Morris said...

Interesting, Mom, thanks for sharing.

There's one thing that I, as a parent, would never do. And that is to knowingly grant absolute authority over my children to anyone under any conditions- school officials, the feds, or whomever.

I defy anyone involved in this conversation to tell me how in God's name they think they have the right, as parents, to grant absolute and arbitrary authority over their children (or themselves for that matter) to any human entity...for any reason!

Terry Morris said...

I heard a story on the radio the other day that bears some relevancy to this thread...

It seems that the Milwaukee school district has now asserted its authority and disallowed the carrying of cell phones on school property during school hours. The reason given was this: apparently it's becoming a growing problem among the student body that certain factions are fighting amongst one-another. Once the fight ensues, certain individuals from either side start making phone calls to friends and relatives in order to elicit their help. Before ya know it you've got a virtual gang war. And the most dangerous weapon? Cell phones, of course.

Anonymous said...

Mr. Webster,
I can't help but think that the appropriate course of action would be to require the parents to enforce good behavior first.

My son came home the other day and told me about a boy who doesn't like him for some reason and who made such a nasty insult to him(involving myself and my husband) that I was stunned to hear it - as was the boy's father when I called him. He apologized to my son the next day and has been using much better language and manners ever since.

That's an appropriate chain of events. My boy is insulted and upset. He tells me, I tell other parent, other parent does his job, insulting boy apologizes and shapes up. Not, My boy is insulted and gets on his cell phone to arrange a gang war.(that would be difficult for him anyway, since he doesn't have one)

I think it would be appropriate for the Milwaukee school system to require parental accompaniment during the school day for students involved in these brawls. I think one week of parental involvement per incident would cause a steep decline in these types of incidents, don't you? It also puts the responsibility for disciplining these kids where it belongs, without depriving well behaved students of the priveledge of having cell phones.

Anonymous said...

Good gracious have mercy miss percy!!! What a fiasco Mom! I thoroughly apologize for the appearance of defending those morons at Howard Suamico District. I thought you just had some disgruntled parents stirring it up, obviously not. Geez, truly incompetent administration. Thanks for posting that release.
Pass the salt.

Regarding the Milwaukee District, it's been a disaster for 30 years.

The school district where my kids go dont allow cell phones, pagers, ball caps, halter tops, mini skirts, t-shirts with logos, gameboys and the like. Takes the distraction factor out of education, seems to work.

I know, you dont care, it aint perfect but they can do some good in a public school setting.

Anonymous said...

No salt necessary, Mr. Wales,

I most certainly do care. The care and education of our children is the future of our country. It is our duty as well as our reward to see them properly raised and educated.

Anonymous said...

Hey JW,
Have a look at this:

Suddenly those scenarios I used as examples don't seem so far fetched anymore.

Anonymous said...

Geez, these people in public office are something else, eh? I like the first line; "bypassing the legislature altogether,..."

Bush is pretty good at executive orders himself, it's at all levels.

good find Mom.

Anonymous said...

Thanks Mom for your efforts,

Wow, I thought only Indians were treated this way. In the little School of Apache Oklahoma, this treatment of the Native kids is the norm, though getting better.

I witnessed verble abuse to a couple of twelve year olds by supposidly professionals, the Coach and Principal.

I was called in once for an incident and sat with my son while the coach and principal bullied and belittled these two young Indian boys whose parents were working and could not come in. I was able to be with my son when called in and witnessed and heard the loud bullying in the in the next room.

I felt really angry and bad for these boys who had no parents with them. The Coach and Principle tried the same thing on us and I would not stand for it. No matter what the child did, I was not going to let them bully us.

I let the Principal know as she stood over me and tried to treat me like she did these two young boys. She backed off when she learned I could and did speak up. I told her in no certain terms that I was not to be spoken to in that way.

There is a right way to handle these issues but to be bullied by supposidly professionals gives these kids the wrong lession. To try to beat down their self esteem was wrong. Its no wonder the drop out rate of the Native American Kids.

When my son was in the fifth grade, he and a friend were acting up, and instead of correcting them in the right way. the teacher told them "YOU ARE ACTING LIKE A BUNCH OF WILD INDIANS, YOU SHOULD BE LIVING IN A TEEPEE".

When I reported it to the Principal of course she defended the Teacher, saying she was a substitute.

Kind of refreshing to know the same happens to the non-indian and we can grab hold of your efforts, since we were never listened to....unfortunately lots more happened to each and every Indian student in Apache.

My kids are graduates but I have Grandkids now in the same school, its a little better, but we keep a watch, and of course the "Bullying Law" helps a lot.

Call Me Mom said...

My apologies for not replying to you sooner. I hadn't checked on this post for a while.
My state legislators (and I through my own research) determined that this issue cannot be dealt with on a state level because the law that needs to be overturned through legislation was established by the U.S.Supreme court. I am only checking this blog as I prepare to request my federal legislators to take up the cause. I had hoped the Tanner family might challenge the ruling, but have not heard anything about whether or not this is the case.
Thanks you for your comments and I hope your grandchildren have a better school experience.

Call Me Mom said...

Just an update.Senator Kohl's aide assured me that this was a state issue. I asked him to convey that to the state senator who told me it was a federal issue. He did so.

At this point I requested legislation again. This was researched and declined. I was told that the teacher and law enforcement unions so strongly opposed it that it would be pointless to introduce it.

The absolutely inexcusable behavior of the union protesters at the capital building this Feb. has created a more amenable atmosphere for the legislation I have been requesting. So, I contacted my senator again. he asked that I send copies of my records of the incident that inspired me to this course of action to him. He turned that over to the state's Atty. general to ask if the school had violated any laws in my case. If not, then he agreed that there needed to be legislation to address the issue.

We are still waiting to hear from the Atty gen.'s office. They were given the copies I sent in late July. I have contacted them to ask what's the hold up as I had sent the copies in late May/early June. Since my contact with them in late August, I have heard nothing. My senator has said he made an inquiry as to the disposition of that material in late Sept.

I will post again when there is anything to relate.

Nate K. said...

As you know for our talks outside this page. I have my children in a private Christian school. This school is at least three to 4 years(in many cases much more) ahead of the public counterparts.
I chose this school for a number of reasons. I liked the fact that I am ultimately the parent. if my children get into trouble I am called right away. They need my permission to do anything extra curricular. I am 100% clear on what the lessons are. I am kept abreast of any and every thing that may change in the studies.
This school also expects me to be involved in the children's education.
This is the problem with our public sector education. They (the schools) figure that you cease to be the parent. The government has taken the direction of the schools from the local level to the federal level.This leaves you zero recourse on anything taught and they can cite federal regulations at you until the cows come home. Of course all of these federal regulations tell you that you have no say in anything that happens inside their walls.
I have friends whose 15 year old child comes home still reading at a second grade level and unable to do multiplication or division forget any real math like algebra telling his parents how to vote.
The schools fail in educating our children because that is not the purpose of a school at this point in our history.
The purpose is to indoctrinate children into socialistic ideals and further degrade the family and the family structure.
They expose the children to any god other than the God of the Christians or Jews. They indoctrinate them into a god of sexuality and feeling good about ones self at the expense of learning and reality. You cannot fail a child because it will hurt their self-esteem.
Our schools in this state have reached even further than you are aware of in your blog post. Our schools took a child across borders to have an abortion against the parents will.
Our schools are nothing but another shining example of the corruption and constant overreach of our government and its constant attempt to gain full control over the people in this country. They figure school aged children are are the perfect age to brainwash because the parents are a lost cause.
Schools know Ronald Reagan was correct when he said, "Freedom is never more than one generation away from extinction. We didn't pass it to our children in the bloodstream. It must be fought for, protected, and handed on for them to do the same, or one day we will spend our sunset years telling our children and our children's children what it was once like in the United States where men were free." The only difference form our schools and us is the schools want us to sit on the porch telling our kids about old funny ideas like freedom and we want freedom for our children.

Call Me Mom said...

Thanks for the visit Nate. You are correct. I can't believe that a school would do that! I hope they were sued out of existence.

Call Me Mom said...

I am re-visiting to update the situation. After 7 years of back and forth with my senator, a bill has been crafted, he has signed off on it and it will be introduced on Tuesday, August 3rd, 2013 in the Wisconsin state legislature.
If you are in Wisconsin, kindly contact your state senator and Rep and ask them to co-sponsor this bill. I will post the name and number of the bill as soon as I get the official one back from the aide with whom I am working.

If your state Sen. or Rep is interested in co-sponsoring this bill , please have them contact Senator Joe Leibham ASAP.

Call Me Mom said...

The (almost a ) bill is LRB-0413/1.
An Act relating to parental notification for questioning pupils about criminal activity.

If you are in WI, please be kind enough to call/contact your Senator and your Representative and ask theme to co-sponsor/support this piece of legislation. Technically it will not become a bill until it has co-sponsors and etc.

If you are not in WI, but know someone who is, please contact those people and ask them to contact their state legislators to support this legislation.

Brian Bonner said...

This problem falls under 2 categories

1. if u dont like govt run schools dont enroll your children in it until we can get this country back to the Constitution! This pisses me off cause I am at the point of calling parents who send their kids to the indoctrination center's gun free zone as CHILD ABUSE in itself! u dont need a law

2. We need to take back our school boards, local & state govts then we shall win, not passing more unconstitutional laws to deal with the unconstitutional laws

Call Me Mom said...

Thanks for stopping by Brian. In our case, we were homeschooling, but there were reasons for a change. Liking the school was not the question. We thought there was something to be gained for our child scholastically by sending him that year - if only to appreciate homeschooling more.

In what way is the law I have worked for 8 years now to get before the WI state legislature unconstitutional? Could you clarify that for me please? The reason this practice is being allowed is because of the SCOTUS decision in TLO v New Jersey(among others). That was clearly a bad decision on the part of the SCOTUS.

How would you have me, as a citizen, address that? I too, wish people would pull their kids out and there is a growing number of parents who are doing just that, but it is not going to happen that all do. It's just not. Something must be done to protect those children from the vagaries of the SCOTUS and the willingness of state legislatures to regard such decisions as, not only correct, but infallible.

What other route would you have recommended to protect the children of the state of WI?