Boy Did That Come Out Backwards; District Reworks Policy To Reflect Parents’ Rights
The Natrona County School District is not going to take away parents rights when police want to interview their children at school, a trustee said Monday.
"There were some parents that were worried that we were trying to usurp their rights with their kids," Dana Howie said after the board's bimonthly meeting.
"Nothing could be farther from the truth," Howie said.
Last month, the board proposed a revision of its policy when a law enforcement officer needs to interview a student. A district official was concerned that a principal might be regarded as interfering with law enforcement if an officer had to wait too long to do an interview or if a parent would not arrive in a timely manner, Howie said then.
But what was intended as an effort to protect parents and students wound up looking like the district was trying to do just the opposite. Howie and other district officials received lots of angry calls, and social media sites denounced the proposed policy revision as an overreach of authority.
The district's attorney Kathleen Dixon was out of town when the proposed revision was announced. Now that Dixon has returned, she and the board are rewording the policy to reflect the primacy of the parents or guardians, Howie said.
The school's administrators will do everything possible to contact the parents, and that means more than just calling whatever number may be available, she said. "What we want to make sure they (the parents) understand is that if police need to talk to a child, the very first thing we're going to do is get a hold of the parents."
The intent is to not leave a child alone with a law enforcement officer even if all attempts to contact a parent are exhausted, Howie said. "We will have the principal or his designee there to back him up and to be a witness."
The school board will discuss and vote on the proposed policy change at a later date.