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NY. CPS Is Out of Control. Mother Keeps Bullied Child Out of School and Is Charged With Abuse

October 20, 2010

PRLog (Press Release) – Oct 25, 2010 –

A North Tonawanda mother who was falsely charged with “educational neglect” after her gay teen received death threats at North Tonawanda High School in 2005 is perplexed by a recent policy brief released by the New York Office of Child and Family Services.

The brief, which was released October 25, 2010, states that the Office intends to review the state’s policy concerning charges of educational neglect involving a minor’s absence from school.

Yes you read that right.  If you keep your child out of school even when there are credible threats made to your child’s safety, you can be the target of abuse and neglect allegations by the State.

 

Rhonda Mangus’ plight began when her gay teen son,  Michael,  was bullied at age 14 while attending North Tonawanda High in 2005.   There was a strong anti-gay bullying aspect to the taunting,  which culminated in an expletive-laced written death threat.    Making matters worse,  Michael’s attempts to form a gay-straight alliance club were met with ridicule by faculty.  As any concerned mother would be likely to do under such circumstances,  Mangus made the decision to remove  the youth from school.

 

Although not one but two medical professionals never cleared the teen to return to school,  Mangus was charged with “educational neglect”.  “Michael was never truant,  and the charges constituted a false filing.”,  she asserts.

Wishing to have the charges removed,  Mangus engaged in a lengthy and grueling  five year  battle which involved filings to the Appellate and Supreme Courts of New York.  She received pro bono advisement from high-profile Chicago attorney and gay rights advocate Jay Paul Deratany,  and his colleague Nathan Polum.    But in the end,  the rulings always ended with the assertion that the charges remain in place.  

Michael eventually went on to obtain his GED with stellar scores,  and now works as a stage performer in the U.S. and Canada.  But he and his mother do not believe that justice was served in their case.  

The brief found that the child protective system—the network of state and local agencies that handle allegations of child abuse and neglect—is not well equipped to help teenagers improve their school attendance. At times, it can make matters worse. 

This is an understatement.  What’s next on NY CPS’ agenda monitoring McDonalds and handing out citations for parents buying their children happy meals.

If New York amended its laws to remove educational neglect of teenagers from the jurisdiction of the child protective system it would not be alone; half of the states—including California, Florida, Illinois, and Texas—do not recognize teen agers’ school absences as grounds for a neglect finding.”

To Mangus and more than a few reasonable others,  a greater issue is in fact a question:  Why there seems to be no method of investigation in the filing of charges which are false and unprovoked. And this in itself is a compelling reason for her to keep searching until it is answered.

Recently NYS CPS/OCFS was subject to a class action settlement where the employment rights of 25,000 NYers were held hostage on a child protection registry where OCFS shredded 25,000 requests for name clearing hearings. http://www.lawyersandsettlements.com/settlements/14331/ocfs-class-action-new-york-state-office-of-children.html

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