When Chad Hunkins, age 36, of Vassar, Mich., was asked to attend an upcoming field trip by his 7-year-old son, he was all for it. In fact, he was extremely excited for the father and son bonding time that the two would share. However, that excitement was cut short by what the school superintendent told him was “an unwritten rule.”
Chad was a wild child. He fell into the wrong crowd and followed the ways of those around him. Unfortunately, those ways found him sitting in a jail cell at the age of 17 after an attempted breaking and entering in an occupied dwelling, a felony in the state of Michigan.
After his time in jail, and up until age 25, Chad took another wrong turn in the path of life and ended up getting hooked on drugs. His interaction with the law came in the form of two Driving Under the Influence offenses. Because of those convictions, he also lost his license to drive a motorized vehicle.
When Chad found out he was going to be a dad, he decided that it was time to change his life. “I went to rehab.” Hunkins stated. “I wanted to be there for my kids. I didn’t have that.”
In 2007, while on his way to work, Chad was pulled over one more time and charged with the misdemeanor of Driving on a Suspended License. “My wife was sick and I had to get to work. I had to be able to pay our bills. She couldn’t take me. So I had to drive. I wasn’t out partying. I’m still fighting to get my license back.”
It was his last run in with the law. He’s clean and sober and trying to provide for his family.
“He’s a darn good father.” Says Eva Hunkins, Chad’s wife. “He’s not one of those deadbeat dads. He goes to all of the kids’ games and he’s very involved.”
He is so involved with the raising of his children, that Evan, Chad and Eva’s 7-year-old son, wanted him to attend a field trip with him and his classmates. They would be taking a bus to a nearby city to take in one of the attractions there. According to Hunkins, there is a form that needs to be filled out by all chaperones. “I was fine with that. I didn’t think there would be a problem at all. I was in trouble growing up and I don’t hide from my past. It’s what made me who I am today.”
However, that very past has kept him from attending the field trip.
“I was told that I couldn’t go on the field trip because of my past and because I have a felony on my record.”
According to the superintendent of the school district, there is an unwritten rule that states that anyone with a felony can not attend any field trip. Hunkins was told that he could take the matter up with the school board but that meeting isn’t until May 14. The field trip is scheduled for this Wednesday.
“This isn’t fair,” Eva said. “He did the crime, he paid the time. Why is he still paying for this?”
Chad also added, “It’s not like my past had crimes that had to do with drugs, guns, violence or kids. We were taking a bus so I didn’t have to drive. I don’t understand this and something needs to change. I want to be there for my kids. I want to experience these things. I wanted to see my sons face when he saw some of these things for the first time and they are taking that away.”
A call was made to the Vassar Public School Superintendent but have not been returned as of submission of this article.
Hunkins and his wife plan on attending the May 14 school board meeting.