Illinois School Administrators Pushing for City Daytime Curfews

The Salem City Council will have a second reading (with possible passage) of a Daytime Truancy Curfew Ordinance tonight.  Why is the City Council passing a daytime curfew?  Because the Regional Superintendent of Education for Region 13 (Clinton, Marion, and Washington Counties) is pressing someone else to do her office’s job.

Keri Garrett (Region 13 Superintendent) has School Resource Officers, an Attendance Specialist, and a Truancy Coordinator just in her Marion County office.  That does not include the separate school districts’ attendance/truancy personnel. There are already funds in place in the school districts and Regional Office to oversee truancy of public school students.  Is this really a good time to require more from tax payers for jobs that are already filled?  Should Salem businesses be fined for not properly reporting families and children out and about during ‘school hours’?  How creepy is that?  Did the Salem police force ask for more help regarding vandalism and law breaking truants?  Apparently not.

Where does the buck stop in Keri Garrett’s office? School duties surely shouldn’t extend to new governmental agencies.  The schools have access to school students’ contact information not showing up for class.  Why don’t schools use that personal information and follow up with public school truancies?

Instead, Garrett requests infringements on other families’ freedom of movement who don’t attend public schools.  There seems to be a pattern with Garrett and her agenda.  Unfortunately, Central City – another school district under her jurisdiction – just passed a daytime curfew.  The Centralia Sentinel published an article [Fewer Students Registered as Taught at Home-Lauren Duncan] last month that spells out Garrett’s purpose.

Keri Garrett quotes from the Centralia Sentinel:

“We ask that they [homeschoolers] fill out a registration form, because people do call and ask about children they see out during the day, and the state board is asking for more information.”

I know of desperate parents that call or visit school employees and ask about their children’s progress, only to find out Johnny Still Can’t Read. So Nosy Myrtle next door who has no life but to make people miserable, and has a particular hatred for children, makes anonymous phone calls and churns Keri Garrett’s unease about the tiny minority of homeschoolers that are not included in her public school regime.  It appears there’s not much required to stir up Regional Superintendent Garrett’s concern about those out of her reach.   Other private school families not on the public school schedule should also be afraid of her goals.   Private schools, including Illinois homeschoolers, do not need to register with the school district/Regional Offices of Education.  With the current state of public school affairs, you’d think that private school registrations added to the public school pot wouldn’t be useful. Most private schoolers are satisfied with the money they spend on education.  But if you were looking for more control, as are Garrett and apparently, the Illinois State Board of Education, there could be more negative outcomes regarding direct education of children. They want bureaucratic control.

More from Garrett in the Sentinel:

“I would like to see a discussion on it with people who are interested.  I think homeschooling has its place, but then there is also no schooling.  I know for a fact that in some cases this is abused.  There are some people who come in and can’t fill out the form to register as homeschooling their children.  I was pretty amazed when I found out Illinois is more lax on its requirements than many other states.”

I would like to see spelling checked on the Regional Office of Education #13 website.  Ironically, Truancy Coordinator is misspelled.  I can’t help but wonder where “some people” who can’t fill out the registration form were educated.  I think I know, but those registration forms should be hitting the trash can anyway.  Beyond my petty spelling gripe; “homeschooling” and public “schooling” are completely different.  Homeschoolers don’t contend with a classroom environment and management. We’re making sure that our beloved children are receiving the best education they can get.

Further, there is no evidence that Illinois or Texas homeschoolers with “lax requirements” have worse education outcomes than states such as Pennsylvania or New York with their invasive homeschool regulations.  If that was the case, the University of Illinois would not have a University of Illinois site specifically to court homeschoolers.

In a similar daytime curfew debate, Lincoln’s alderwoman, Wanda Rohlfs, suggested that questions of legitimacy could be resolved by having homeschoolers wear badges when we’re out in the public.  (Unfortunately, Lincoln did pass a daytime curfew, and sure enough, their Regional Office of Education Superintendent Anderson also had an anti-homeschooling agenda.)

Surely we don’t need a history lesson from Germany.  Our country was established on the basis of freedom.  Let’s keep folks like Rohlfs and Anderson and Keri Garrett in their place and performing their jobs well.

Salem, don’t follow the same path as other Illinois cities and towns.  Daytime curfew is intrusive to law abiding citizens and it does not help truancy.  Rockford is a prime (and expensive) example of that.

Here is contact information for the Salem City Council. (618-548-2222 ext 20):

Mayor Leonard Ferguson

Council Members are: David Black, Tom Carr, Steve Huddlestun, and Kip Meador.

Our state tax monies pay for Keri Garrett’s office.  Here’s her contact information:

To contact us:

Marion County Office:  200 East Schwartz Street Salem, IL 62881 Phone: 618-548-3885 Fax: 618-548-4477

Clinton County Office:  930 B Fairfax Carlyle, IL 62231 Phone: 618-594-2432 Fax: 618-594-7192

Washington County Office:  230 East St. Louis Street Suite A Nashville, IL 62263 Phone: 618-327-8322

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