A Texas school district has been accused of illegally barring a mother from the campus where her grade school children attend class – based on nothing more than some “inappropriate language” a school official allegedly overheard while the mom was in a conversation with one of her friends.
“As a legal organization that advocates on behalf of parents’ and students’ rights, we have grave concerns over any effort to deprive a parent of their fundamental right to be actively involved in their child’s educational experience, including access to school grounds,” said the letter, signed by Institute Staff Attorney Jesse H. Baker IV.
“Based on the fact that Ms. (Yvonne) Garcia was barred from school grounds without any opportunity to challenge the trespass warning, and because the ban is adversely affecting her children’s health and educational well-being, we request that you immediately rescind the terms of the Trespass Warning letter, which we find to be both overreaching and egregious, and reinstate Ms. Garcia’s right of access to the school grounds.”
The letter to the school explains that it was on Dec. 6, 2013, when the mother was “on-site at the campus of Forbes Elementary School, having a friendly conversation with an adult friend. It was later alleged by Principal Erica Lopez that during the course of the conversation, Ms. Garcia used inappropriate language. Ms. Garcia denies doing so.”
The following Monday, Garcia was banned from campus and informed by police officers ” who were awaiting her arrival.”
School officials declined to respond to a WND request for comment.
But John W. Whitehead, chief of the organization, said, “Hate crime laws, anti-bullying statutes, zero tolerance policies, trespassing warnings – these policies may have started out with the best of intentions to make students and schools safer, but what they’ve accomplished is transforming the schools into quasi-prisons, microcosms of the emerging American police state.
“This is the danger of allowing government officials to prioritize so-called security needs over Americans’ constitutional rights: rather than pursuing rational policies that foster safer environments, they demand total compliance and advocate a totalitarian mindset which punishes any deviation whatsoever, no matter how insignificant.”
The letter to the school says the punishment was imposed without explanation and without offering the mom an opportunity even to respond.
That flies in the face of “longstanding recognition by the courts that parents have a liberty interest in the ‘care, custody, and control of their children.’”
Rutherford officials explained that Garcia was later issued a second letter, “purporting to provide her with ‘limited permission’ to access school grounds when ‘dropping off children.’ The letter mandated that she must drop off her children at a location behind the school gym, an area inaccessible and inconvenient for dropping off students.”
“With respect to picking up her children, Ms. Garcia was instructed to park her vehicle across the street from the school grounds, and her children would be escorted to her vehicle by a school official. This arrangement requires that her children be pulled from school 15 minutes early each day, missing valuable class time, and then wait in the school principal’s office for their escort…”
The result, among others, is an aggravation of an anxiety condition suffered by her oldest child.
Because of the threat from the school, Garcia “has been unable to meet with the school nurse to discuss … health issues … and has been unable to pick him up directly from the school office. … Instead, on each of the occasions in which he has had to leave school early, Ms. Garcia has been forced to sit in her vehicle across the street from the school and wait for her sick son to be physically escorted out by school officials.”