I’m sorry to see that in the face of opposition to a proposed daytime curfew for school-age children, the Kansas City Council has folded like a flimsy tent in a thunderstorm.
As you probably know, a City Council committee on Wednesday put the proposed curfew on ice, partly because home-school advocates have launched a full-scale assault on it.
I have a suspicion, however, that racial politics is the main reason the proposed curfew is not headed to the full council. The home-school bit looks to me like a big smokescreen.
It’s preposterous that the council would back down to the home-school “community” or that the home-school contingent could even be much of a factor in this issue. What’s to worry about? That a group of wild home schoolers are going to cut Mommy’s algebra class, go down to the Nelson Art Gallery and egg Henry Moore’s bronze sculptures?
The main thing fueling my suspicion is Lynn Horsley’s Kansas City Star account of Wednesday’s Public Safety Committee meeting. She reported that Councilman Michael Brooks, a committee member who is African-American, took a strong stand against the curfew, which would affect all 12 or 13 school districts located wholly or partly within the city.
Horsley’s story said that Brooks “wanted to see more intervention programs from the public schools, such as alternative schools and social workers, before the city adopts a potentially punitive approach.”
To me, that sounds not just like putting the idea on ice but putting it at the back of the deep freeze and forgetting about it. What is the likelihood of the Kansas City School District establishing more alternative schools just to find out if they helped reduce truancy?
No, Brooks wants the idea to go away. And I would suspect that most of the other black council members do, too. It’s got to do with this: “Don’t stick your nose in my business; how I choose to monitor my children is my business.”
(For the record, the other members of the Public Safety Committee are John Sharp, Scott Taylor and Jermaine Reed. I don’t know if a vote was taken or if the measure was held by consensus.)
Now, let me say…I don’t like announcing that racial considerations are the reason I think the ordinance stalled, but, in my opinion, racial politics has been a major factor in the Kansas City School District having been mired in quicksand for 40 years. And it just keeps getting thicker.
A council majority ought to tell the home-school advocates to go back to their three-hour-a-day teaching schedule and stay out of the truancy issue, which has about as much to do with home schooling as T-ball does to fast pitch.
A council majority ought to stand up to what little is left of Freedom Inc. and Brooks and any other council members who are dragging their feet and vote the curfew into law. I’ll bet Mayor Sly James would resist the expected, conventional back peddling on this issue and would vote for it.
Remember the flash-mobs-on-the-Plaza scare last year, when James had to go to the ground after shots were fired on a Saturday night? He came out a day or so later and said, in so many words, “Parents, take responsibility for your children’s whereabouts.”
Passing the truancy-prevention ordinance would hold parents more accountable for the whereabouts of their children (parents of truants could be fined up to $100 per occurrence, after the first violation) and, yes, it probably would reduce property crimes caused by bored kids.
Let’s give credit, however, to freshman Councilman Scott Wagner, who lives in the Northland, for bringing this controversial proposal forward. He has said he is motivated by one goal — to get kids back in school…I can’t imagine any ulterior motives he might have.
What’s to be lost by putting a daytime curfew in place?
The kids should be in school during school hours, shouldn’t they?
Editor’s Note: Today marks the second anniversary of the First Post on JimmyCsays. Since March 23, 2010, I have posted 251 blogs. It’s been a fun run so far, and I want to thank all of you for your readership, your support and, most of all, your comments, which are the lifeblood of any interesting blog. With that, into year three we lurch!