Lift Our Voices as One and Let Freedom Ring LOUD!
I was stunned yesterday when this story showed up in my news feed.
Ohio is generally considered to have moderate laws by which to homeschool. Those outside the state when seeing or hearing the requirements often think they are stringent. Yet, some of our senators are proposing change, major change!
The reason for this proposed law?
About a year ago, very tragically, a young man died at the hands of an abusive adult. The tragedy of that event is sorrowful to my heart. It truly, truly is. As a former foster parent and now adoptive parent, my heart breaks when I hear such stories.
Again, you may be asking why does that affect homeschooling laws?
You see, just weeks prior to this boys death he had been enrolled in public school. When that school reported possible child abuse the mother chose to withdraw him from the school, reportedly to homeschool.
Here we are a year later. The mother and the abuser are both in prison. Now, some legislators in the state are seeking to stiffen homeschooling regulations in a knee jerk reaction to one incident. Overlooking the fact that failures in the Child Protective Services division of the Job and Family Services system, failed to protect the child in question.
Instead, they now are seeking to put home education in the purview of Job and Family Services. If passed this would mean that it would be up to that state agency to determine if a family is allowed home educate their child. This would be true of both traditional home schooling AND online charter schools.
I urge you to read through that entire HSLDA article, and click through to read the text of the actual proposed bill.
The Proposed Ohio Senate Bill 248 States
- .Would be required of both traditional home education and online charter education. (Section 2151.4211)
- Required visitations from CPS workers to interview both parents, children (separately) and any other home residents.
- Determination from CPS on what is “Best Interest of the Child.”
- 2 required visits per year once an excused absence was granted.
- Sec. 3313.60 states that each local board of education
“shall prescribe a curriculum for all
schools under its control.”
With very specific language as to what that curriculum would include. (Do Not miss that when you go to read it).
- Required Behavioral counseling (I share this portion of the proposed law, which is public record with you because I want you to see the reality of this proposed law.)
“Sec. 2151.4213. (A) The department of job and family services and the state board of education shall jointly develop an intervention program to assist families who seek to provide instruction to school age children via an internet- or computer-based community school or at home. The program shall include the following:
(1) Behavioral counseling sessions, in both individual and group settings, for all of the persons identified in divisions.
(2) In-person classes on topics including parenting, decision-making, personal or household finance, and homeschooling;
(3) Any other services the department and the state board determine to be necessary for the success of the program.
(B) The department and the state board shall jointly develop a means of assessing participants in the intervention program to determine successful completion of the program.
(C) The department and the state board may jointly adopt rules, in accordance with Chapter 119. of the Revised Code, as necessary to develop and implement the intervention program.”
If you are reading this, and are terrified, well good. You should be terrified regardless of what state you live in. Once a law of this has precedent in this country it makes it easier for other states to adopt similar laws. Additionally, once CPS is given such power to make determining decisions over education, then there will be no limit to the decisions they can make on behalf of families that they determine to be “In the best Interest.”
So what can be done?
If you are an Ohio resident we need to take action now! Do not wait. The Ohio legislature is in recess until after the holiday season. That does not mean that we Ohio Homeschoolers, all 24,000+ (this number does not include the additional families who online charter school) have to take a recess.
We need to email, call, and snail mail our representatives. Today! Let’s join together, flood their inboxes with messages which state that you strongly oppose Senate Bill 248. Do this daily!
While your at it, contact the senators who are sponsoring this proposed bill to the senate and that you urge them to withdraw the proposed bill. You can find their names here: http://www.hslda.org/cms/?q=bill/senate-bill-248-require-childrens-services-review-homeschooling.
Additionally this bill was first proposed by State Senator Capri Cafaro. Call or email her office daily and let her know that honorable homeschooling parents should NOT be penalized because of the abusive actions of ONE.
State Senator Capri Cafaro: (614) 466-7182, http://www.ohiosenate.gov/senate/cafaro/contact.