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Idaho

February 24, 2004

Senate Bill 1233: Provides for automatic misdemeanor for failure to provide "comparable instruction."

Sponsor:
Senator Joe Stenger.

Summary:
S.B. 1233 will make any home educating parent who fails "to place the child in school . . . or to have the child comparably instructed . . ." automatically guilty of a misdemeanor crime.

We believe that this bill targets homeschooling families. The use of all other forms of education - public schools, private schools, and parochial schools - are expressly exempt from the statute.

Status:

01/27/2004Senate Introduced
01/28/2004Sent to Senate Education Committee
02/16/2004Passed out of Committee
02/17/2004Second Reading

This bill has been withdrawn and is now dead.

Action Requested:
No action required.

HSLDA's Position:
HSLDA opposes this bill.

Background:
A victory for Idaho homeschoolers! Senator Joe Stegner has withdrawn Senate Bill 1233 after homeschoolers in Idaho rose up to express their opposition to the bill. The entire senate concurred in his motion.

Some senate offices received over 600 emails in the space of two weeks from homeschoolers opposing the bill. Withdrawing the bill is the "simple recognition that this bill is divisive," said Sen. Stegner. "It has generated more animosity than I ever anticipated."

Credit goes to Idaho Coalition of Home Educators for spearheading the opposition and to HSLDA members who took time out of their busy schedules to contact their senators about the bill.

S.B. 1233 threatens homeschool freedom. This bill will make any home educating parent who fails "to place the child in school . . . or to have the child comparably instructed . . ." automatically guilty of a misdemeanor crime.

Currently, the law states that if a parent is suspected of failing to provide comparable instruction, proceedings would be brought against the parent under the same Act under which the juvenile charges were brought against the child. This system has worked effectively for decades by giving the juvenile judge a great deal of latitude in working with the individual family to resolve the problem. Since the term "comparably instructed" is somewhat vague, the family has a better opportunity to prove they are providing an education and disprove the allegations.

Under S.B. 1233, this flexibility would be taken away. Parents whose home education was found to be inadequate would automatically be charged with a misdemeanor crime even if the educational shortcoming was relatively minor.

We believe that this bill targets homeschooling families. The use of all other forms of education - public schools, private schools, and parochial schools - are expressly exempt from the statute.

Only homeschoolers can be convicted of failing to provide comparable instruction under the statute this bill modifies.

 Other Resources

Bill Text