TO THE WILLIS INDEPENDENT SCHOOL DISTRICT
I saw the news video on the little 17 year-old-honor student. At first I thought, "Well, there's another example of the courts interfering in things they know nothing about."
Of course, I know there are attendance laws (and for good reason). However, laws are to be administered with a degree of common sense. Why wasn't this matter referred to juvenile court - your law clearly gives that option to you.
Your self-serving justification on your website indicates to me that you are more concerned with your public image and covering your tail than you are with the needs of students.
Judge Lanny Moriarty's statement that "one little night in jail" is not the end of the world infuriates me as nothing else has in years. He should be very glad that there is no law for stupid else he would be looking at a sentence of thirty years.
His concern, apparently the school system's as well, is that if "you let one run around loose, what are you going to do with the rest of them?" is not based upon fact and is a direct expression of "doing school the way we have always done school" -- children are merely widgets to be stamped out in cookie cutter fashion.
As professional educators, surely you are aware that every major study of the last 75 years has shown the American high school to be less than ideal. The educational goal for the 21st century has to be student mastery of standards not minutes in a seat.
I dare say, that this little 17 year-old-girl, by virtue of her class load and academic success, in spite of great personal and family issues, "knows" more than the majority of the students you are giving diplomas to this year.
Yes, I know you have to follow the law. I also know you have the right - and the duty - to be a friend of the court. It is obvious this judge is not knowledgeable about education and the needs of youth. He is no expert on education -- but the school district is. Where where you?
As punishment for your failure to be an advocate of educational reform and of this child in particular, I think the superintendent, Dr. Jimerson, should spend one night in jail. One little old night won't hurt anyone. Might do him some good.