(Protesting Insane Staunton School Truancy Enforcement)
It is error alone which needs the support of government, truth can stand by itself.
—Thomas Jefferson in Notes on the State of Virginia
Home Data and prosecutions Kaye Roberts
This just in from
The Guardian: As we knew all along, punitive truancy laws don't help kids learn, they just harm people. In fact, sometimes
they kill people.
BREAKING NEWS: See the full story on how Kaye Roberts became an
attendance officer. Embezzlement! Investigations! Crime and dishonesty!
You wake up in the morning and your kid is sick. The kid needs
to stay home from school and sleep. About 10 a.m. you get a phone
Barbara Smallwood or her mini-me
Roberts. Fear strikes your heart like a thunderbolt. In the normal world, parents decide when
their kids need to go to the doctor. In Staunton, Virginia, Barbara Smallwood, Kaye Roberts,
and steely-eyed Assistant Commonwealth's Attorney Anne F. Reed decide for you.
You need to take your kid to the doctor essentially every day that the kid is absent or you will end up in
the Juvenile and Domestic Relations Court, being condescended to (and possibly fined),
in a secret star chamber
proceeding. Even if you do take your kid to the doctor, it may not matter. According
to Kaye Roberts, notes are routinely lost by the schools. You may do everything they require of
you and still end up with a cop on your porch serving you with papers.
And once you're in their crosshairs, do you ever feel
as if they're whispering about you in the corridors and
the teachers' lounges? They are. We've heard them.
Just recently, while waiting in the office of Shelburne,
we heard an employee phone Smallwood to ask her if a doctor's note was sufficient to excuse a kid's absences. After the conversation ended, the caller was rushed at by a clutch of other employees who couldn't wait to hear the juicy details. We've heard many a story from students about the sarcastic, public, unprofessional remarks made by teachers and office ladies about kids who were circling the truancy drain. You're not paranoid after all.
Here is the law they're
prosecuting you under: here
and here. We can't
see where that says you have to take your kid to the doctor for an excuse.
Smallwood, Roberts, and Reed think it does. Perhaps they know what they're talking about.
We aren't lawyers, but at least some of them claim to be. Given their abysmal
conviction rate judges in Staunton don't seem to be fully convinced either.
Why do they try you in secret as if they're ashamed of what they're doing? The Sixth Amendment seems to say that your trial should be public. Their own
court rules (PDF, see page 4) seem to
say that your trial should be public. Could it be that they're hiding the fact that these prosecutions
are wrong, wrong, wrong?
We don't know what can be done about this, but we do know that you can complain.
Enough silence about this. It's happening to a lot of people, not just you. We
can't afford to take our kids to the doctor for every little cold or flu, and
we can't afford an attorney to defend us. We have to pay some fines.
For now they have the power to do that to us, but that
doesn't make it right.
Barbara Smallwood: email@example.com
Kaye Roberts: firstname.lastname@example.org
Anne Reed: email@example.com
Staunton City School Board members
Press inquiries may be addressed to press (at) pisste (dot) org
Other inquiries may be addressed to info (at) pisste (dot) org