The Home School Court Report
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JUNE 1996
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Attention California Members: Late Breaking News

California Assembly Bill Offers Protection From Warantless Searches

Calls to HSLDA from families facing abuse and neglect allegations and contacts from Child Protective Services are becoming more and more prevalent. At issue in most of these cases is the assumed right of law enforcement officials and government employees to enter a home without a warrant or court order over the resident's objection.

California Assembly Bill 3303 provides an opportunity to address this problem. Scheduled for hearing by the Assembly Public Safety Committee in the near future, AB 3303 would require public employees in the state to secure a search warrant before entering a home or business for the purpose of conducting an investigation or search. This would include social workers investigating suspected child abuse when no emergency conditions exist.

Typically, Child Protective Services employees, accompanied by law enforcement officers, coerce their way into homes for the purpose of separating children and interviewing them. In one California case, after forced entry, a child was "strip searched" by a police officer without the consent of the parent.

Many times the investigation is initiated by an anonymous call without any evidence that a child has been abused, neglected, or is in imminent danger. This bill would give innocent families the same legal protection afforded suspected criminals under the Fourth Amendment to the United States Constitution, guaranteeing the right "to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures " absent a warrant.

Without massive public support, AB 3303 stands little chance of passage. But it is drastically needed to protect the freedoms of parents in California to direct the upbringing of their children without unreasonable interference by the state. Therefore, we are asking all California HSLDA members to contact their Assemblyman and Senator and urge support for AB 3303 as soon as possible.

Write or call as a parent or citizen, not as a home schooler.

It is generally better not to reveal the source of the alert—simply ask your Assemblyman/Senator to support AB 3303 and briefly explain why he or she should support the legislation. Always be courteous in your approach to elected officials. The Sacramento Capitol switchboard telephone number is (916)-322-9900. The operator can provide the number of any legislator or state official. For local numbers of your Assemblyman or Senator, look in the Government, State of California section in the front of your telephone directory. Thank you for your anticipated response.