Wednesday, January 16, 2008

School System More Powerful Than Police

Another day, another article in The Washington Post. This one continues to detail the involvement of five city agencies with the mother who killed her children sometime after pulling them out of school to "homeschool" them. The tragedy is that we all know that the school system could have saved these children by regulating homeschooling even when child welfare, social services, and the police failed. In Washington, D.C., which we all know has efficiently run agencies where tragedies like this never occur. Sorry, got distracted by a leprechaun and it's not even March. Let's turn back to the article and try to tone down the sarcasm.

Five agencies had contact with the family. Six child welfare workers have been fired for failing to respond to concerns about the children dating from April 2006, the article says. Clearly, D.C. has some problems. The article doesn't list the agencies, but I'm wondering if law enforcement is once since the article later mentions that during a visit to the home, the mom was "very difficult" with police and a social worker (just laying a foundation for my post title).

The part of the article that I love is the report of the D.C. Council meeting, which picked apart the case to determine whether this was a rare tragic occurrance, or whether it's systemic. During their analysis, council members asked why school truancy and homeschooling policies failed to follow up on these kids. From what I can see, the mom pulled the kids out of school in March 2007 and may have told someone she was homeschooling, but at least one of the schools claims it didn't know why. Six weeks later social services sends a letter to one of the school's offices asking for more information. Public school officials cannot confirm receipt of this letter.

So many mistakes by so many people. But one of the questions the Council is asking is the principal of one of the schools, who received "verbal withdrawl" from the mom when pulling the kids from school, was why he didn't ask about the mom's level of education and fitness to educate her daughters. Well, that would have saved the kids, wouldn't it have? Maybe they should have considered her mental illness, her drug use, her failure to follow-up on paternity suits that she brought -- no, her educational level and ability to homeschool her kids would have been the question to snap people to attention and to help these kids.

Okay, I'm not angry anymore, just sad. Come on, though, the school could have helped these kids when FIVE other agencies failed? Please.

1 comment:

rckidteacher said...

Can't blame you for being so aggrivated by this!!! Makes you want to just hug your kids!! How blessed we are in the lives we have. Don't you agree?