Today, I was walking into town when I heard someone running down the street after me (I like to walk at pace) shouting, excuse me, madam! Madam, you with the four children please stop!
At this I turned to see a police officer. He then told me that a lady required my address as she was seeking out truants.
This is the first time ever I was asked to speak to a Truancy officer who was out searching for truants and wanting their details!
My children are not truants, I retorted, they are home educated. You do not require my details, I am under no legal obligation to do so, so I will be on my way, thank you.
His face! Putting a policeman in his place comes with some amount of pleasure! Especially as I was smiling, confident and he was looking rather perplexed and uncertain of what to do next.
He hesitated and then, much like a school boy would say 'ok, I'll have to check with my mum first' said 'ok, but you really need to check that with the officer because she is in charge of that and (small pause) I really don't know.
He was a nice enough young man, but I was in a hurry and just had to go. He did try to be as polite as he could bless him. But... Surely a police officer should know the law? Especially when he is out enforcing it.
I am a confident home educating mum. One who knows my legal right concerning home education, one that the LA (Learning Authority) is well aware of, but it made me think: what if I didn't know all my rights? What if I wasn't so confident?
I understand the law is different if you chose to send your child to school; I understand in that situation they are not to play truant, but they should know the rights of those who opt out of school, or flexi-school.
Unfortunately I was in a rush else I would have had a long conversation with them and wasted their time instead. But for now I will just blog about it...
To be fair, the truancy officer herself was lovely. She said: elective home educator? I said yes and she smiled, said lovely, bye then. It was fine, her job is one that can't be very nice after all but she should have educated the young police officer with her first.
I do feel sorry for those with kids at school, apparently, according to the news, when they catch a child of school age without a parent or guardian they escort them to safety: SCHOOL. Ironically to me that was not always a safe place for me to be as a child.
School to me resembles prison in so many ways. It sounds like something the police would do to an escaped convict. Poor things. If a child is trying to escape an institution it makes you wonder, surely the institution has failed the child!