Saturday, September 21, 2013

No Child left behind - the bus at least.

The McKinney-Vento rep called me about a family that was going to be homeless.

I was honored.

These reps, and there’s one at every school, are in charge of implementing a program commonly called “No child left behind” which makes them responsible for making sure kids get to school if they become homeless.  Generally the school’s financial commitment is limited to bus passes, so they call me for the rest.

In the past, we dealt primarily with parents whose substance abuse or psychiatric problems was impairing their kid’s attendance.  To be invited to help parents whose kids did attend school was a real joy.  

Until I thought it through…

A multi-million dollar school district calls a private (poor) religious charity looking for $40 per day and assures me they’ll pay the $4/day needed for the OCTA day pass.  Since Orange County has decided not to help families, regardless of their children’s attendance, with emergency shelter, I have to ask what good bus passes really are if the kids have been taken by CPS when the mandated reporters at the school report, as they must, that the family’s only alternative is sleeping rough.

As personalists, we’re more than a little concerned with the legitimacy of a system where people with longstanding relationships are telling us that a kid’s future depends upon the generosity of people with whom the family doesn’t even want a relationship – just the cash.

We helped, because we are related through Christ, but I’m asking the McKinney-Vento reps that call for help to consider raising their voices.  

If not in protest, at least at a car wash designed to raise funds for sheltering homeless students.
Perhaps then the voters, if not the Supervisors, would get the message.

If I can help with the car wash, let me know... a lot of us Catholics have dirty cars!

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