Former State Senator, Jim Wilson, of Tahlequah; passed away recently. He was part of the old-guard liberal Democrat caucus who served with Gene Stipe and others in the legislature toward the end of the long reign of the Democrat Party. Reports say he was battling cancer.
Wilson represented the Tahlequah area and was a Democrat. He advocated for his Cherokee constituents and rural Oklahoma concerns. He was a Vietnam veteran who served in the State House for 2 terms before concluding his Senate service in 2012.
In his latter years of service, Wilson was a feared opponent of private schools and especially home educators. He didn't create the Oklahoma public school bureaucracy, but he strove to make it more powerful.
One of his last areas of advocacy was to enable any designee of any school to go around the community and round up any kids not attending school at that moment. The law allows kids to be locked up until a guardian is located for that child. The law is already terribly flawed because private schools don't keep the same schedules as public schools. In fact, even among public schools in metro areas, some are 'year-round' and others are not.
Uber liberal publisher, Frosty Troy was a noted fan of Jim Wilson's political advocacy.
Wilson was irritated that home educated kids have a carved out exemption from the enforcement of this rule. He repeatedly pressed to strike the clause which stipulates that it does not apply to home educating families.
The law does not limit the detention powers to only public schools. §70-10 does not establish a limited definition of "School" but does deem home educating to be a form of schooling. Hence we citizens must prepare for the possibility of an activist zealot who would follow the letter of the law to an extreme. So St Mary's Catholic School could round up the kids at Henthorne Park(next door), during the fall Teacher's Union days off. And perhaps Elliott Elementary might seek retribution on Good Friday, when Catholic Schools observe a holy day.
Here is the text of the statute.
A. An attendance officer, any school administrator, or designee of the school administrator who is employed by the school, or any peace officer may, except for children being home schooled pursuant to Section 10-105 of the Oklahoma Statutes, temporarily detain and assume temporary custody of any child subject to compulsory full-time education, during hours in which school is actually in session, who is found away from the home of such child and who is absent from school without lawful excuse within the school district that such attendance officer, peace officer or school official serves, if said school district has previously approved the temporary detention and custody pursuant to this section.
B. Any person temporarily detaining and assuming temporary custody of a child pursuant to this section shall immediately deliver the child either to the parent, guardian, or other person having control or custody of the child, or to the school from which the child is absent without valid excuse, or to a nonsecure youth service or community center servicing the school district, or to a community intervention center, as defined by Section 2-1-103 of Title 10A of the Oklahoma Statutes.
C. The temporary custody or detention provided by this section shall be utilized as a means of reforming and returning the truant students to school and shall not be used as a pretext for investigating criminal matters. The temporary custody or detention herein provided is a severely limited type of detention and is not justified unless there are specific facts causing an attendance officer or other authorized person to reasonably suspect that a truancy violation is occurring and that the person the officer intends to detain is a truant.
Added by Laws 1989, c. 178, § 5, operative July 1, 1989. Amended by Laws 1995, c. 270, § 3, eff. July 1, 1995; Laws 1999, c. 365, § 9, eff. Nov. 1, 1999; Laws 2009, c. 234, § 158, emerg. eff. May 21, 2009.