The Home School Court Report
VOLUME XV, NUMBER 4
- disclaimer -
JULY / AUGUST 1999
Cover
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Cover Story
What Did the Founders Say? A Strategy to Bring Original Intent Back to U.S. Courts

Special Features
House Protects Liberty—When Money Is at Stake

Debate: The Clash of Skill, Wit, and Ideas

PHC Breaks New Ground

Touched By An Angel Responds to Home Schooler’s Concerns

National Center Reports
Straight A’s Bill Introduced

Marriage Penalty Tax Relief

New Plan Allows SSN Alternative for IRS Deductions

The Beginning of the End:National Teaching Certificates and Goals 2000

Military Recuitment of Home Schoolers Increasing

Across the States
State by State

Regular Features
Press Clippings

A Contrario Sensu

Prayer and Praise

Litigation Report

President’s Page

H  O  M  E     S  C  H  O  O  L  I  N  G     N  E  W  S     F  R  O  M
Across the States
AL · CA · DE · GA · HI · ID · IL · KY · LA · MD · MS · MT · NC · NE · NV · NY · OH · OR · SC · SD · TN · TX · WV · WY

Home School Heartbeat in Alabama

Birmingham
WDJC
93.7
FM
Birmingham
WXJC
92.5
FM
Birmingham
WYDE
101.1
FM
Brewton
WELJ
90.9
FM
Carollton
WALN
89.3
FM
Centre
WZTQ
1560
AM
Dixon Mills
WMBV
91.9
FM
Dothan
WAQG
89.3
FM
Dothan
WIZB
94.3
FM
Dothan
WVOB
91.3
FM
Florence-Muscle Shoals
WAKD
89.9
FM
Fort Payne
Joy Christian


Guntersville
WJIA
88.5
FM
Hanceville
WLYG
1050
AM
Headland
WIZB
94.3
FM
Jasper
WQJJ
97.7
FM
Montgomery
WDYF
90.3
FM
Montgomery
WLBF
89.1
FM
Northport
WMFT
88.9
FM
Northport
WSJL


Selma
WAQU
91.1
FM
Selma
WRNF
89.5
FM
Talladega
WNUZ
1230
AM
Troy
WAXU
91.1
FM
Alabama

Child Protection Act of 1999
    On June 8, 1999, Governor Don Siegelman signed into law House Bill 402, known as the Alabama Child Protection Act of 1999. This law requires applicants for employment and current employees suspected of child abuse at public and nonpublic schools, including church schools, to undergo a criminal background investigation. Although the terms “employee” and “employment” are not defined in the new law, the common understanding and dictionary definition of these terms indicates that it has to do with a person who has been hired by an employer and is receiving some form of compensation for work performed. The new law prohibits a public or nonpublic school from hiring a person until the criminal background investigation has been completed unless there is an emergency need for employing the person and the employment is temporary. Any person who refuses to consent to the background check is ineligible for employment, and any current employee may not continue to maintain employment until the consent is given.
    Job applicants and current employees suspected of child abuse whose employment would involve or involves unsupervised access to children in an educational environment are subject to the background investigation. In addition to providing written consent to the investigation, the person being investigated must provide fingerprints to be examined by state and federal authorities. After the investigation, the state superintendent of education makes a “suitability determination” for the employment of these persons at nonpublic schools. Current employees of public and nonpublic schools who are not suspected of child abuse do not have to undergo the criminal background check.
    The new law expressly excludes parents engaged in the home schooling of their own children. However, “home schooling” is nowhere defined in the act. Further, since most parents home schooling in Alabama do so under the umbrella of a church school, there are occasions when their children are being taught by other adults in a co-op arrangement or in connection with participation in sports or other activities at a church school. If those persons providing the instruction are receiving compensation for their work from the school and have unaccompanied contact with children, they are subject to the criminal background requirements should they be suspected of child abuse. Additionally, any new job applicant at the church school who would have unaccompanied contact with children must undergo the investigation.
    At this time, it is uncertain how this new law will actually affect home schooling families. Home School Legal Defense Association intends to assert to the maximum extent possible the language stating that “[p]arents engaged in the home schooling of their own children are specifically excluded from the provisions of this act.” Any member families encountering difficulties with the new law should contact HSLDA for advice and assistance.

Legislature Authorizes Curfews in Jefferson County
    On June 1, 1999, Governor Siegelman signed into law H.B. 281—which authorizes the Jefferson County Commission to “regulate and restrict the activity of minors under 17 years of age in the unincorporated areas of the county, by resolution or ordinance, in public places and establishments.” According to the preamble to the bill, one of the purposes of the legislation is to authorize Jefferson County to establish a curfew and prohibit minors from remaining in a public place or public establishment during scheduled school hours and during certain nighttime hours.
    HSLDA continues to oppose daytime curfews and is presently challenging the constitutionality of a curfew law in California. There are no “scheduled school hours” for students being taught by parents at home in Alabama, so these students would be wrongfully accused of violating the county’s daytime curfew should it be enacted. Should the Jefferson County Commission propose such a curfew, HSLDA is prepared to provide information to home schooling families who desire to oppose its adoption.