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Guest commentary: When is enough, enough?

Posted: Wednesday, Jun 12th, 2013

My name is Brandy Cain. I have been born and raised in Wheatland and completed school here. I loved school and those are some of the best memories I have. I知 usually a very quiet easygoing person. I知 usually the first person to defend our little community. Sadly, I write you this letter to bring your attention to a concerning matter in Platte County. I have a son who is nine years old. He is in the third grade and goes to school at West Elementary. He is a great student and wonderful child. He has not been in trouble a day in his life. All his teachers have loved him and have nothing but good things to say about him. In fact he has won a couple awards this year for his behavior.

This past year, we have had a major bout with illness in our family. He missed quite a bit of school due to illness, medical appointments and a pre-approved vacation. The school said it would be no problem for him to miss a few days to visit his aunt. In fact they arranged for him to take a couple PAWS tests early. They also said he didn稚 need to take any work with him. He loves school and has never been a problem. To our surprise, he was before a judge last week for truancy and missing too much school. Nobody called us before or asked if there was anything going on. There were no questions from his teacher or the principal.

Our timid and anxious son stood before a judge and was told he could be taken away from us and we could go to jail if he missed too much school. Now, imagine a timid nine-year-old, afraid of the dark and being alone, in love with music and the Beatles and his favorite person is his teacher, standing before a judge. He had no choice over going to school or not. Our perfect nine-year-old son is now on supervised probation, forced to sign a form saying he won稚 break laws, carry weapons, won稚 do drugs and must give random drug urinalysis. My son, wearing a SpongeBob t-shirt, does not even know what urinalysis is. As a parent, mother, daughter and hardworking community member, I am sick over this. I had no clue court would lead to probation or I would have fought it tooth and nail. A nine-year-old should not be treated like a criminal for something he couldn't control.

I just hope as someone who cares about our children, and community, please don't look the other way. I feel if a child as young as nine is missing school, perhaps a meeting and plan could be done before such harsh procedures. I work with families and know the troubles they deal with. This has had a major toll on my son. My son who cried after seeing me cry and said 的知 sorry I was sick and missed school. It broke my heart to hear that. This is not his burden to carry. If anyone should be put on probation it should be the parent. Please look into this situation, as I致e heard there are many more from West Elementary. I appreciate a policy that makes children accountable for attendance. Some families and children need it. Not all cases are the same. Nine-year-old children in third grade should not be on supervised probation and treated like a criminal.

Thank you,

Brandy Cain


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