SB2323: Parents Rights Trampled?
From Hawaii Family Forum, February 12, 2018
Hawaii's Senators are debating a bill on Wednesday morning that, although well-intentioned, may have a chilling effect on homeschooling parents. You are receiving this email because you live in the district of a Senator who sits on the either the Senate Education, or Senate Human Services Committee.
We need your help.
SB2323, if passed, establishes procedures for a parent or legal guardian to obtain authorization to home school a child. It goes even further by requiring that the complex area superintendent or the complex area superintendent's authorized representative to request child welfare services to conduct a child abuse and neglect history inquiry and provide information to the department of education to conduct a background check before approving or denying a notification of intent to home school. The bill provides a way for parents to petition family court if they are denied.
UPDATE Feb 15, 2018: Senator yanks bill requiring background checks for parents who home-school their children
- Well first of all, there is no real proof that abusive parents are able to abuse their children more easily than if they were in public school. Sadly, there are children in public schools who are abused every day. The majority of cases across the nation and in Hawaii occur when children, who were already under CPS' auspices, are taken out of a school and never followed up by the authorities.
- Even the story used within the bill about Peter Boy Kema, is a stretch! Authorities were aware of the abuse and in fact returned the child to the abusive home. This has nothing to do with homeschooling. In little Peter's case, he was not of compulsory age, and therefore not homeschooled. The other case referred to in the bill, the girl who died in 2017 on the Big Island, was already under CPS before her mother took her out to be homeschooled. The principal of that school had not reported suspicion of abuse by 3 educators in the school.
- This law would most certainly have horrific effects on homeschoolers freedom by allowing a superintendent (who are normally pro-public school) to decide whether a person could homeschool. It is horrifying to think these sorts of things are happening to students, however, there is no evidence that says that these things happened solely because the parents homeschooled or that giving certain figures veto power over who could homeschool would actually solve the problem.
Even if you are not a homeschooling parent, you understand the authority this gives the government. Even though we all strongly condemn child abuse and neglect, we need to oppose changes to Hawaii's homeschool law.
In March 2016, Congress's national Commission to Eliminate Child Abuse and Neglect Fatalities published a report calling on state legislatures to take a broad and holistic approach to preventing child abuse. The Commission identified several key risk factors for abuse-which did not include homeschooling-and encouraged state legislatures to carefully study the causes of child abuse locally to identify real solutions.
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KHON: Should parents of home-schooled children submit to background checks?
RELATED: Legislators Want CWS to Investigate All Homeschooling Families