The following is now posted on the Fonda-Fultonville Central School website:
Addressing questions concerning arrest of parents for failing to register their children
On January 5, 2010, both “The Daily Gazette” newspaper and WRGB television reported that local parents had been charged with endangering the welfare of a child for failing to register their children with the local school district. Although the article was accurate, it did not include all of the details causing many of its readers to draw inaccurate conclusions. In fairness to the family and to the school district, Fonda-Fultonville Central School District Superintendent Dr. James Hoffman issues the following clarification:
- All parents living in New York State must register their children with their local school districts, but are then free to choose any state-approved public, private or homeschool option. The registration process merely ensures that every child receives an education.
- County agencies investigated and determined that the children of this family were not registered. The Montgomery County Sheriff’s Office subsequently charged the parents as prescribed by the law.
- The district has worked closely with the parents since charges were filed and have assisted the parents in completing all paperwork necessary to comply with state law.
- It is the district’s goal to quickly resolve this unfortunate situation, to enable the family to pursue their right to homeschool their children, and to restore their privacy.
- free to choose any state-approved public, private or homeschool option Is that the same type of choice we have when boarding a plane, where we can “choose” to be physically assaulted patted down or virtually stripped scanned?
- charged the parents as prescribed by the law Where is it written that charges must be placed? Does this same Sheriff’s Office issue a ticket for every speeder they pull over, or make an arrest for every domestic disturbance they’re called to? No, they don’t. They have the ability and the duty to exercise judgment and discretion. Either it was not considered in this case, or someone decided to make a point by releasing mug shots to embarrass the Cressy’s.
- The district has worked closely with the parents since charges were filed Assuming that the investigation included contact with the school to ascertain that the children were not registered, why was this help not given to them to prevent their arrest? Again, someone wanted to make a point.
- It is the district’s goal to quickly resolve this unfortunate situation Perhaps the feedback was a little more than they had planned for? (A current Google search of Richard and Margie Cressy gets over 25,000 hits.)
I see no “inaccurate conclusions” that have been “clarified” by Hoffman. I still see those in positions of power throwing their weight around and pointedly making a public example out of the Cressy’s, by charging them with the real crime of child endangerment when the children weren’t in any danger at all. The Cressy’s simply didn’t submit the proper paperwork to the proper bureaucrat, which was brought to light by an anonymous tip, rumored to have been placed by a neighbor with a vendetta.
And this is justice in Montgomery County.