Mandatory registration not necessary to ensure education

Posted: Tuesday, November 08, 2005

On November 1, the Clarion reported on the desire of the KPBSD championed by Dr. Nels Anderson to demand registration for all school aged children. The reason? The concern that there are children who are not being educated. He is quoted as saying that there is nothing anyone can do regarding children in these situations.

As a parent who cares about the children of our community, this statement greatly concerns me. Why? Because it simply is not true. All of us have the obligation to report child abuse or neglect. Alaska law (AS 47.17.290) clearly defines neglect as when "the parent fails to provide the child with adequate food, clothing, shelter, education." Thus, under state law it is mandatory for parents to provide an education for their children. The Troopers and local police, together with the Office of Children's Services, are charged with upholding and enforcing that law. Therefore, we already have a program in place to guarantee that children are being educated. Why don't we allow local law enforcement and OCS do their job? Why duplicate their efforts?

All this makes a person wonder why our school board is so adamant about a law to register children. Maybe board member Debbie Brown is right that this is all about funding. We know school districts have lower enrollment due in large part to parents who are taking the responsibility to educate their children, in many cases because the schools they have previously trusted have failed to do so. Perhaps registration is simply a first step by schools to getting those kids back by force.

Holly Hansen, Soldotna

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