The March 6 editorial, “For young kids school absences really add up,” deserves another perspective.

Upon reading L.D. 96, An Act to Improve Attendance at Public Elementary Schools, I get an uneasy feeling that this bill just might be akin to the proverbial Trojan Horse — looking good on the outside, but containing bad stuff on the inside!

At first read, this bill sounds reasonable and harmless, but the potential of usurping parental authority is certainly there. The section requiring parents to “consult” with the school board before pulling their 5- or 6-year-olds out of public schools, be it through a visit or by letter, is not only ridiculous but especially intimidating, since they are threatened with truancy charges. These children don’t even have to be in school until the age of 7.

But the Editorial Board quickly makes the assumption that “intervention” is necessary because some parents “are likely to shirk other responsibilities related to their kids’ education.” Let us remember to whom these children belong. They are not a commodity to the school department, nor a cause for the editorial staff. Parents are the primary educators, and they are the ones most vested with their children’s welfare. No law should presume otherwise.

So, in concert with the public schools, is L.D. 96 more concerned with the well-being of these children, or are they more concerned about the revenue that might be lost due to a lower enrollment?

Pat Truman


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