I am a mother of a six year old facing 3 felony charges for picking my daughter up from school, with fundamental parental rights to do so.
I would describe myself as an activist who is passionate about policy. I organized one of the first "lockdown" demonstrations in the nation, protesting the orders forcing church closures (not even allowed to gather in cars in the parkinglot) ahead of Easter in 2020. Then I used exsisting relationships to get Alliance Defending Freedom to take a case from our state to the Suprme Court. I have worked with parent groups against bad policy in two states. I have a nonprofit organization dedicated to advancing the rights of independent contractors and safeguarding free access to the private sector for the individual. I wrote and presented a bill in the NV legislature this year. I care deeply about our liberties and have worked many years in safeguarding them.
The charges I face include burglary (I presume for knocking on my daughter's classroom door and it being opened for me, and a second time when we retrieved her backpack from her cubby) kidnapping (It is impossible to kidnap your own child you have a right to travel with) and deprivation of custody (you cannot infringe on someone else's right to custody when you have a concurrent right to custody). None of the charges make sense, but that isn't stopping them from dragging me through a criminal process. They have issued an arrest warrant and 100,000 bail. I need 10k to post bond and 2k for the retainer for legal representation. Because the charges are in California and we live in Nevada there is a possibility of a long extradition process unless I can post bond and overcome those obstacles.
It is important to note there was no custody order when I picked my daughter up from school. Per both SCOTUS precedents and CA Uniform Parantage Act, I have full parental rights to care, custody and control of children as all parents do, unless there is 14th Amendment due process where that would change, likely in the form of a court order.
Now I did try to go to the courts to get my daughter returned, but after many months and half a dozen hearings, they are still discussing jurisdictional matters and haven't been able to make any orders. I have raised concerns of my daughter showing signs of distress, of my fears of her father and other overall well-being issues.
But let's back up to the beginning. I was a victim of domestic violence through my pregnancy and eventually escaped that relationship, with my baby in tow. After 3 years, 17 documented visits, 15 of which I supervised and after the father got off felony probation for a drug charge, got a drivers license back from DUI charges, and held a job I began to offer visitation at his home and for longer periods-- summer breaks.
Before she was sent on this summer break I had him sign a document in front of a notary that we had agreed to her attendance in private school in Nevada and that she would be returned ahead of this school year.
After refusing my communications most of the summer, missing an academic testing date, as I was leaving the schools open house and asking him to plan her return, he finally notifies me that he has no intention of returning her. I file a family custody case within days.
Since nothing has been able to be ordered, I've retained full fundamental parental rights. I called the school, because he didn't notify me where she was enrolled and put myself into their file, they had me email an ID and court documents (no signed orders just some paperwork for their reference per request), they knew who I was because I made myself known to them.
As the safety concerns and signs of distress piled up, I decided it was time to exercise my right and bring her home.
It started fine, I showed my ID upon request they checked to see if it matched their records. I signed the clipboard as many other parents with my exact same rights did that day. They said they were bringing her from the classroom but soon it became apparent that wasn't what was going on. I was informed of the building her classroom was in and went to find my daughter, the administrator/ superintendent following me, contacting law enforcement as I told her she had "no legal basis" to conceal my child or impede "full rights".
I found my child's classroom, knocked, the door was opened, she rushed into my arms. She wanted her backpack so we repeated the knock, door opening process. This is apparently what the authorities there call a "burglary".
The administrator is filming me, and then my daughter which I beleive to be in violation of FERPA, student privacy federal law. It's quite irregular to film a parent picking their child up from school, almost as irregular as it is to call law enforcement or attempt conceal someone's child's location.
Law enforcement contacted me and agreed it was a civil matter that could become criminal if we didn't notify the other parent of our location.
We went home. We texted to notify my daughters dad that we were home.
However, before we even arrived home my daughter began detailing abuse from her father. I got her an emergency therapist session and we reported the abuse allegations she was making. I was able to obtain a restraining order where we are both protected parties, for now.
None of this has stopped law enforcement or the DA from charging a mom for acting within her rights to protect a child. The fact that I have rights doesn't cause them to consider them, respect them, uphold them.
Now I have to defend those rights in a criminal matter, post bail, retain attorneys while trying to help my daughter feel safe and heal from the situations she had endured.
Please make a contribution in any amount to help us in this battle. I feel the motive has less to do with the letter of the law, and more to do with punitive actions for ruffling feathers, that some people including an authoritarian public school system did not *like* that I exercised rights. It's disturbing for all parents that fundamental rights would be placated by public schools, a school I never consented to her enrollment in for the record. It's shocking that a school would escalate the matter instead of realizing their mistake and that they have no role in telling lawful custodians that they cannot have their children. It's shocking for every parent to think they don't have any rights until they post bail and fend off ridiculous felony charges because they acted to protect their children.
If you help us stand our ground for parental rights, you help all parents have their fundamental rights secured. Thank you.