Tennessee attorney Connie Reguli has an additional warning for parents. Though these forms are in the Nashville schools, parents everywhere need to be on the alert and read every form that they sign.
Nashville, Tennessee, schools have these two forms at school. Be careful what you sign. Opt out of all social work and counseling programs at school and do not sign documents that give them permission to remove your child from school.
As “Back to School” time approaches, parents everywhere are preparing – shopping for school supplies and clothes, adjusting schedules, and making arrangements for after-school care.
The public needs to be aware that, while parents get ready to send children back to public school, teachers and staff in the schools are undergoing mandatory training right now that will result in some children being taken from their families, perhaps permanently.
Several sources from within the system have told us that the first 6 weeks of school are the time of year when CPS seizes more children than any other time of the year.
According to the 2015 Child Maltreatment Report from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, the highest percentage of reports of child abuse and neglect comes from educational personnel. In 2015, teachers and other school staff made 18.4% of the total reports to CPS, up from 17.7% in 2014. (Source)
Under the guise of “protecting children,” Child Protective Services is training school personnel all over the country about reporting parents for all sorts of things that may be considered “signs of abuse.” While some of these certainly indicate possible abuse and could call for a need for some type of intervention, others were called “ridiculous” by one source who told us things that school staff is to be on the lookout for.
Because they are “mandatory reporters,” teachers and staff are being told that they can lose their jobs, be sued, or go to jail for not reporting things that could happen in any normal, non-abusive household.
No Jacket? You Can Be Reported
One of the most frightening criteria we learned is that teachers, lunch room ladies, bus drivers, and other staff were told that they must file a report with CPS when a child comes to school without a jacket when it is cold.
How many kids say, “No, mom. I don’t NEED a jacket. I’m fine.”? In some households, this is an everyday conversation, and parents figure that, if he really gets cold, he’ll put on a jacket.
Some children have figured out that the time spent outside in the cold is negligible compared to the amount of time spent indoors, where a jacket is unnecessary. Other children lose jackets regularly, so it is easier for them not to take something that they will get in trouble for losing.
Other children are simply so energetic that they are not very cold when adults around them are. This author’s brothers were like that, and our mother argued with them almost daily about it.
Parents, make certain that your kids take a jacket when it is cold even when they don’t think they need it, because you could literally have your child taken from you and put into foster care. CPS views this as a sign of neglect.
School Supplies or Else
If a child doesn’t have school supplies or lunch money, that is to be reported.
Some children are capable of losing their pencils and notebooks between the time they leave their house and the time they reach their class. It is the rare parent indeed who has not had a child spring something on them at bedtime the night before a child needs additional supplies, money, a permission slip signed, or something else at the most inconvenient time.
Children forget; they lose things. This is normal, but it can be interpreted as a sign of neglect.
Note: Churches and communities need to be sure to collect and distribute school supplies for needy children so that the children are not taken by Child Protective Services simply because their parents are poor.
Tardies Can Get Your Children Taken Away
Sometimes it can be really hard to get kids to school on time, and there are all kinds of reasons – car trouble, getting multiple children ready – especially little ones, a newborn baby in the home, parent working late night hours, argumentative teenagers, kids being bullied at school and resisting getting ready, or a sick child.
But if the child has too many tardies, CPS can use that as an excuse to steal your children. We have seen this happen.
In the Baby Steffen and Annalise case, the primary reasons given for them being seized by the Tennessee Department of Children’s Services were missed doctor appointments for the baby and tardies for Annalise in school. The parents have an unreliable car that still is in and out of the shop, and the tardies were later nullified. However, the cost to their family is something that can never be recovered:
Being Depressed or Withdrawn Can Result in a Child Losing their Family (and then Getting Really Depressed)
If a child is withdrawn or depressed, school staff in some locations have been told to report this to CPS. While this certainly can indicate abuse, it may have other reasonable explanations.
There are a myriad of reasons that a child may be withdrawn that do not involve abuse, or may not involve the parents. Children who are being bullied by other students, or the teacher, may be withdrawn. There may be non-abusive issues at home, such as parents splitting up, a sick grandparent, a medically-fragile or autistic sibling, parents working late, or maybe their dog just got run over.
Older students can be depressed over a breakup with a boyfriend or girlfriend, not fitting in, being grounded from their cell phone, or simply hormones. Life can be rough sometimes without any abuse or neglect happening.
A report to CPS sometimes results in an overzealous social worker getting involved who makes a mountain out of a molehill. A normal childhood struggle can turn into something far worse for a child if they lose their family and are placed into foster care.
Let Us Know Other Hidden Back-to-School Dangers
Are there other normal childhood behaviors that teachers and school personnel are being told that they must, as mandatory reporters, report to Child Protective Services? We would like to hear from our readers if you know of other landmines that innocent, non-abusive parents need to watch for. Please tell us in the comments and let us know.