Across the States
Victory for Parental Rights
Shortly after the Arizona Legislature opened for the 2006 session, Senate Bill 1527 was introduced in an unprecedented attack on the fundamental right of parents to the care, custody, and control of their own children.* The bill's sole purpose was to enable any child at least 16 years old to enroll himself in public school without the consent of a parent or guardian. To Home School Legal Defense Association's knowledge, Arizona is the first state in the nation to contemplate this type of legislation.
Homeschool families across the state urged their legislators to defeat the bill. Carol Shippy (of Arizona Families for Home Education) worked with HSLDA Senior Counsel Christopher Klicka to craft an amendment that would allow minors to enroll in public school with no more than the written consent of a parent or guardian. Senator Ron Gould, a homeschool father himself, presented this amendment, and it was passed unanimously by the Senate K-12 Education Committee.
At the committee hearing, Senator Albert Hale, one of the bill's Senate sponsors, attempted to argue that public school enrollment practices needed major improvement. He said that the bill was originally filed due to a situation in which a minor on an Indian reservation was unable to enroll in the local public school, since his father was absent and his mother was, apparently, physically unable to enroll him because of a drug problem.
Most of the committee members were unconvinced that the situation illustrated anything more than an issue of local control, and considered the legislation needless. In the end, the amended bill passed the committee by a five-to-three vote. However, it is possible that the legislature will allow S.B. 1527 to die as an unnecessary bill.
— by Thomas J. Schmidt
*For a review of important parental rights cases, click here.