Religious and Family Freedom and the Wake County School Board

Friday, November 13, 2009

It is done

The voters have spoken and all school board seats up for re-election were unanimously replaced by candidates supported by community schools organizations.

I have anxiously watched this race, even as I do it from afar. My family has moved out of the area as my two daughters are now both graduated from high school. The fight was no longer for me, it was for all my good friends in the area with children in the school system who had them sent to different, and in some cases, far away schools.

My friends, as do I, believe in supporting your children at school, volunteering, and being involved. We all believe that families mean something, and siblings of similar ages shouldn't be separated into different schools, and that bus schedules and limited access to transportation shouldn't force parents to miss work or children to miss early morning scripture study classes.

I know that there will be many arguments. There is a lot of existing power structure around the insanity which has infested the school system, which will have to be torn down to make the schools more accountable and more accommodating to the parents and community.

The head of the teacher "union" (North Carolina doesn't allow unions, but the NCAE is a union in everything but name) recently criticized the incoming school board members saying, "They don't care about children and it [is] now clear that they don't care about teachers." The NAACP has threatened to sue the school district, just for allowing students to attend the schools closest their homes instead of busing them across the county.

There are many problems that will need to be worked out. I don't claim to have all the answers. And since I no longer live in Wake County, I'll let others work the problems out, but I ask you these questions:

1. Wouldn't it make sense to allow parents to choose where to send their children to school instead of having one assigned to them by a central planning committee?

2. As far as the poor and minorities being hurt by the new neighborhood school policies- Is supporting a combination of charter, private, and public schools so far out of question for taxpayer dollars through vouchers? Who's really being hurt by this reluctance, those with the money to move near a high-performing school or those who don't?

3. Shouldn't it be a goal of the school system to support moral values, the strength of family and religious ties, and encourage the participation of parents at their children's school, rather than make it all but impossible to participate? The social sickness of society is a result of these ties being weakened. Out of wedlock pregnancies, child abuse, and crime are all associated with the disintegration of family and religious values.

4. What should be more important to the school system- political organizations' leadership and lobbyists opinions, or the opinions of the families and community employers that the schools serve? Most parents in Wake County have overwhelmingly favored neighborhood schools and school choice.

It has been a long hard journey. Frankly, I'm glad it's over for my family. And I thank the Lord above that Wake County parents have finally begun to understand that the school board works for them, not the other way around.

May we see this awakening across the fruited plain and from sea to shining sea.

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Hello,

I thought you'd be interested in this story. This is another good example of how court systems and politicians across the country are slowly chipping away at the rights of the parents versus the state to raise children.

This ruling appears to require state approval for a parent to school their child. Basically, the court ruled that homeschooling is not a constitutional right and therefore, the parent must have state teaching credentials to homeschool their own children. This case can be used by other legal cases as precident, unless depublished (to restrict the effect of the ruling to only this particular case) or alternatively have it overturned by a superior court.

California Court of Appeal rules parents must be credentialed to home school their kids
http://www.ksby.com/Global/story.asp?S=7984276

If you're interested in some ways to help stop this rampant growth of government intrusion into the family and information about the effects of judicial activism, I've found some resources that might be of interest.

Petition to Request Depublishing
https://www2.hslda.org/Registrations/DepublishingCaliforniaCourtDecision/

Home School Organizations - State and Local
http://www.home-school.com/groups/

Thanks and take care,

David

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Thursday, September 06, 2007

I got word yesterday that House Bill 488 was signed by the Governor at the end of August and so now it is state law.

This law makes it possible to discuss the needs of the family at length with a officer chosen by the school board, rather than be forced to attend shotgun meetings of a couple minutes each in front of the school board.

Those who would rather meet with directly a two-member school board panel still have that option depending on whether the school district decides to select a hearing officer or not.

I hope this law fixes at least part of the currently broken re-assignment process which has terrorized parents as they get shredded by the bureaucratic machine that the Wake County School System reassignment hearings have been.

Sincerely,

David

Monday, June 11, 2007

Hello,

I wanted to share with you a letter I received recently from another parent. (I have been contacted by somewhere around a dozen parents over the past year with similar circumstances and I am aware of many more.)

I've removed names and email addresses, because I don't have permission to share them, but I do want to share a couple things.

A. Those of you in these circumstances aren't alone- not by long shot.

B. I'm not giving up on this cause, I just can't with good conscience allow my daughters to continue to be pawns in the battle any more.

C. Here is some good information for anyone considering a similar move.

D. In addition to the resources below, I encourage you to speak with other government representatives and media representatives.

Sincerely,

David Bailey

-------- Original Message --------
Subject: Siblings being separated in WCPSS
Date: Thu, 7 Jun 2007 18:10:09 -0400
From: (name removed)
To: familypetition@baileynet.org

I found this web site: http://www.petitiononline.com/famwcpss/petition.html
and you seemed to start this.

I am currently in shock. My oldest daughter attends Enloe High School. I tried to get my second daughter in through the magnet process, then transfer, and finally an appeal to the school board. I thought since they let my first daughter go to Enloe, the second daughter would get in for the same reasons PLUS her sibling goes there.

I don't know if your petition is what I need to do (or do I need an attorney) or is there no hope? I am just looking for help if you have any suggestions for me.

Thank you,

(name removed)

--------------------------------------------------

(name removed),

Hello, my name is David Bailey.

Please do sign the petition. I've switched it to approve first as we've had some spam in the signatures lately.

There is certainly hope. We **HAVE TO** as parents force the school board to acknowledge that families and sibling relationships are important and that we need to ensure that brothers and sisters of the age to go to the same school can.

At present, our family has sued the school board about this. After a year and not enough progress, we decided to drop our suit due to emotional turmoil in our daughters and time & financial constraints. We were doing all the legal briefs ourselves and finally the strain just became too much. However, if we had had the resources to continue it, I think we would ultimately have won, as we had a strong case.

You've got to have money, patience, and you need to get a community following to succeed.

Make certain you go through all of the hoops required as far as request, appeal, etc. There are some tight deadlines where you have to respond within a week of getting letters, make a verbal appeal, etc. Read all the materials and be aware of what the process is and your rights are.

Here's our blog about the process:

http://freedom.baileynet.org


Here are some resources you need to know about:

http://www.soswake.com/
http://www.wakecares.com/

You can get some good information on the Cary Politics forums:

http://carypolitics.org/

Here are some media resources that I stayed in contact with about our suit. I'm sure they would be interested in speaking with you. The key in speaking to media is to help them understand that your family's struggle is part of a larger struggle. After all, many families are suffering. Kelcey Carlson was especially helpful, but all three were concerned and answered questions for me.

Kelcey Carlson
WRAL TV
(email removed- you can contact via link below)
http://www.wral.com/rs/bio/1012363/

Jessica Jones
WUNC North Carolina Public Radio
(email removed - you can contact via phone below)
(919) 445-9173

T. Keung Hui (pronounced Kern Huey)
News & Observer
(email removed - you can contact via phone or link below)
http://blogs.newsobserver.com/wakeed/
(919) 829-4534

Please let me know how I can be of assistance.

Sincerely,

David Bailey

Friday, May 25, 2007

It is with mixed emotions that I write this. My mind runs over questions without easy answers. What are the bonds within families worth? What is the value of a close relationship with a sibling?

Over a year ago, the Wake County School Board denied our request to allow our daughters to continue to attend high school together for emotional and religious reasons. Next week my daughters graduate from the school year they have both spent at high school, only one grade apart and yet at different schools.

I think back to the many years Amber and Brittany have attended school together. They would breathlessly run in the door to show off their school work. The many years Rhonda and I would come and attend school functions together and watch one, then the other, and many times both either perform or be awarded.

I remember the difficult year when Amber graduated to middle school while Brittany stayed in elementary. Brittany was concerned that she wouldn’t be with her sister any more. This would be the first time she attended school without her sister being down the hall. I assured her then, they would only be separated by a couple walls. They were still attending on the same school campus, just in different buildings.

I think fondly of coming to school to eat lunch together, Dad and his two little girls. The teacher scolding because I brought pizza and soda, and that “fun foods” should only be brought for an entire class. The grins on the girls’ faces. How they have grown since those days.

I can also see the results of the past year wearing on us. Although Brittany has done remarkably well by any academic measure at Holly Springs High, being admitted to the North Carolina Governor’s School is just one example, there are other costs more difficult to measure. I can plainly see a distance which has grown between members of our family as only time, distance, and differing goals can create. Can you remember high school rivalry? Who do you cheer for when your two daughters each encourage a different team? Which performance do you attend when they both perform on the same night? How do you explain these things to your daughter?

I remember the nights, not long past, of Brittany first asking in tears for us to never give up our efforts to bring her back to Middle Creek High with Amber, and then other evenings where she begged to remain at Holly Springs High, later to have her reverse her request again.

I remember the stress and strain in trying to find rides for Brittany to get to early morning gospel study, “seminary” and school, while Amber driving the vehicle we purchased to transport them both rode off alone. We were often left as anxious parents while I would travel out of town on business and Rhonda would be left trying to work out arrangements by herself. I felt both gratitude to the others that assisted us and shame for my inability to provide what I felt I should be able to.

After many conversations with my wife and daughters we have come to conclude that to continue to fight this decision of the school board comes at a higher cost to our family than to make one final transfer request for the coming school year and let the decision stand.

There is, of course, some pain in this. Only a week ago, our request to the school board that we would drop the suit if only the two girls could attend school together next year was again denied by vote of the board. This is at least the sixth time that the school board has made this decision. A friend recently told us that being a trailblazer is hard. It is.

At the same time, I won’t say that this is all turmoil and bitterness. There is honestly a peace in our hearts as we close this chapter in our lives. We would never have done this if we didn’t feel it was important for our family and that it was what was the right thing to do. We do not make this decision now except that we feel it is what is right.

I look at my daughters and I can hardly imagine the potential and possibilities of my daughters’ future lives. Amber graduates from high school next year, and Brittany the year after. I marvel at their ability to succeed and excel regardless of the challenges placed before them.

I am grateful for the many letters and calls of support and encouragement from parents all across Wake County. I am thankful for parents around Wake County who call and write the school board, government representatives, and media to work to change the system so that it can serve the families of the area better – those who not only suggest and criticize, but show up for public meetings and to vote, even on non-Presidential election years. I am grateful for members of the media around the region who have listened intently to our story and made it known. My respect for the parents and employees of the media companies of the area has certainly grown through this experience.

I am grateful to the representatives in the North Carolina State House who have heard our story and worked to change the state law to allow school boards overburdened with school transfer requests and parents the option to have their transfer hearing with those with more time and focus.

But mostly, I am grateful for my family and faith that sustain me through the good and bad in life. I express my deepest thanks and gratitude to my wife and daughters and to my Lord and Savior.

And yet, I can’t help but ponder the question in my mind – what value should be given to our relationships within family and with siblings, and what is the role of school and government in protecting them? I hope you feel as I do, that they are priceless and that they should protected above all else.

- David Bailey

Thursday, May 10, 2007

Hello,

I'm excited to announce that the Education Committee heard and approved House Bill 488 today. That means the next stop is a vote by the full House.

A few representatives from both parties spoke positively about the bill and, at this point, I believe it will pass the House.

This bill allows the school board to opt to delegate some of their authority to a hearing officer on their behalf, when both parties (the board and parent) agree, to assist with the overwhelming issue of the potential hundreds of school reassignment appeals and typically only several school board members. Because the change of school board committee to hearing officer is optional, not mandatory, I believe it would help both overwhelmed school boards, but even more importantly, parents who feel they need more time and attention than the school board members can offer.

A big thanks to Rep. Stam (Wake) and Rep. Gulley (Mecklenburg) and to their staff for their work on this bill! And a big thanks to my dear wife, Rhonda, who showed me the North Carolina General Statute that got me thinking, and ultimately led me to have a conversation with my friend Brian Lehrschall, legislative assistant for Rep. Gulley, and our House representative, Skip Stam, who took quick action on this important issue. Also, we couldn't have gotten the bill on the committee schedule without the help of the Education Committee Chairs, Reps. Bell and Lucas.

Regards,

David

I've been requested to be present for the committee hearing of House Bill 488 which would allow school boards in North Carolina the ability to delegate some of the responsibility for hearing reassignment appeals rather than being forced to hear them themselves.

In the Wake County School System, the reassignment of high school students for the 2006-07 school year caused thousands of appeals of which, the school board had to hear over 1,000 appeals. The North Carolina General Statute 115C-369 requires that person seeking reassignment is "entitled to a prompt and fair hearing". The issue is that when there are nine school board members and thousands of appeals, you get the kind of system that we were subjected to- two minute hearings.

Trying to explain why it is important to a family to have a student assigned to a school in two minutes is just not feasible. Simply saying hello and getting started takes around 15-30 seconds.

This means that issues such as physical disability or other quickly explained situations get a relatively fair hearing and psychological, emotional, or religious beliefs issues are forced into trite quips that simply don't do the circumstances justice.

If school boards are unable to find policies that meet the needs of more parents, as WCPSS claims, or allocate more personal time to the hearings, as WCPSS also claims, then it should be possible by law for them to delegate the appeal hearings to someone qualified to allow a better appeals process.

State law recognizes the school board appeals process as an administrative court of sorts. Appeals to their decisions go directly to the Wake County Superior Court, rather than to the District Court.

Since this is the case, a forced two-minute appeal for the well-being of their son or daughter is something no one should have to endure.

Sincerely,

David

Tuesday, May 01, 2007

Hello,

I wanted to let you know that we are filing an appeal with the Superior Court in Wake County.

After a great deal of discussion with my dear wife, we have decided that the School Board did not follow the judge's order to rehear the case and consider the needs of our daughter.

Also, on the legislative front, House Bill 488 seeks to allow large school districts the option of delegating the responsibility of personally hearing every appeal, including re-assignment appeals, so that the thousands of reassignment appeals that often occur in large districts won't overwhelm the school board and end up limiting you to only two minutes of speaking time, as is the case in Wake County. Please contact your representatives in the house to encourage them to support it.

I will put more information up as I have it.

Regards,

David Bailey

Monday, March 19, 2007

I wanted to inform you about the Wake CARES lawsuit that has been filed on behalf of the many families and students who feel that the district has ignored the needs of a large portion of the county for a long time.

The specific action being taken is against the mandatory year-round conversion and uneven distribution of those schools. Some towns in Wake County have and are in the process of supporting the legal action.

I recommend that you review their information and determine if you should be involved.

http://www.wakecares.com/

Sincerely,

David

Wednesday, February 28, 2007

After being given the denial letter from the school board, we requested that we receive a copy of the minutes from the school board appeal and later discussion by the full board on the hearing.

Today I was contacted by Laura Evans, Director of the Growth Management Office, to explain that my request was considered unusual and had to be reviewed by their attorney and members of the board before a response could be made.

I was verbally told that before we could be given a copy of the meeting minutes they must be edited, reviewed, and approved by the board.

I requested the information in writing and was given the following:
Subject: Board Appeal Minutes
Date: Wed, 28 Feb 2007 08:10:47 -0500
From: Laura Evans (address removed)
To: David Bailey (address removed)

Mr. Bailey,

We have received your request for the minutes from your board appeal hearing for your daughter Brittany. The minutes have not been completed. We will get you a copy as soon as there is a final draft. Please know that the minutes are not final until they are reviewed and approved by the board.

Laura Evans
Director
Growth Management, WCPSS
(phone number removed)

Thursday, February 22, 2007

Well, we received the letter today. Here it is. I'll let you judge for yourself. (You can click on the image to view it more closely.)

To me this letter stands as a monument to the ultimate failing of the Wake County School Board to meet the needs of our family. A simple request that could easily have been granted by the school board for the benefit of our daughters was denied to meet the needs of cold, impersonal policy.

I'd like to thank our board member, Ron Margiotta, who has been of great assistance in our efforts, and for his encouraging words. I can only hope that the other board members have served their constituents as well he has served us. I encourage you to know which school board member has been elected by your district and find out if they've met your needs.

We do have an historic opportunity this Fall as a majority of the nine-member Wake County School Board comes up for re-election. I encourage everyone to get involved in this important process. If we are involved, I promise we can make a positive difference.

Wake County School Board Members and Terms
http://www.wcpss.net/Board/boeinfo.html

Wake County Voter Registration Information
http://www.wakegov.com/elections/

It is not over for us. We will continue to determine what actions we can take to find a resolution for our daughters.

Thank you for your many kind comments, support, and prayers.

Sincerely,

David Bailey

PS- If you're interested in reading our second appeal before three members of the Wake County School Board, I've attached it here.

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

Today, we were telephoned by a representative of the school board regarding our appeal. We were informed, informally, because they must notify us by mail, that our appeal was again denied.

We are awaiting the formal notification via letter at which time we may pursue additional actions to allow Brittany and Amber to attend school together.

We have now twice presented to the school board why Amber and Brittany have religious, emotional, and academic reasons to attend school together. Both times, our appeals have been denied.

We will post additional details when we have them, as well as our response to the official notice from the school board.

We're thankful to the News & Observer and T. Keung Hui for their latest article which highlights how difficult it can be for parents trying to do the right thing for their sons and daughters in opposition to the will of the school board. However, I would like to re-state, these are our sons and daughters, and if we don't stand up for what they need, then who will?

Sincerely,

David

Wednesday, February 07, 2007

We've received notice that the school board has scheduled the "re-hearing" and are planning to present our case again, this time in front of three school board members. This will happen tomorrow (Thursday, Feb 8th).

All prayers on our behalf are appreciated!

Sincerely,

David

Monday, January 22, 2007

We're excited to announce that during the calendar call, when the court schedules the cases to be heard for the week, Judge Manning, who was handling the administrative procedures, decided to hear our case immediately.

Our attorney, Richard Croutharmel, argued that Brittany's best interests were not being served and that Wake County Schools had not shown evidence that the ramifications of school reassignment had been fully considered.

Judge Manning found that there was no evidence that Brittany's best interests were considered by Wake County Schools and remanded the case back to the school board for reconsideration.

The Defense is preparing the order for Judge Manning to sign. They have 30 days to appeal after the order is signed. If they choose not to appeal, we believe the school board will have 30 days in which to hear us again. We plan to express to the school board exactly why Brittany will be best served at Middle Creek High School. We intend to address her academic and artistic improvements as well as the close family ties to her sister. We also plan to readdress the importance of the early morning seminary classes and explain why this extra curricular instruction is so important to us.

Our attorney believes we have a strong case if WCPSS appeals, although it's obviously going to be time consuming. Our strongest concern, aside from Brittany's and her sister's immediate needs, is the apparent effort by WCPSS to continue to delay rather than grant our appeal even when it is evident that our daughters' needs are not being best served with their current plan.

This time, we believe it will be more difficult for the school board to disregard our arguments during the school board hearing.

We will put more details up when we get a copy of the ruling from the court.

Thursday, October 26, 2006

Rhonda and I had a conversation last night and we've decided that we're going to speak to some attorneys that specialize in this law prior to the trial. Although we're confident with her ability to research law, we're not as certain with our ability to present the case in court.

We're hoping the case will be scheduled before the end of the year.