Across the States
Grandparent Visitation Bill Defeated
For the past several years, a number of “grandparent visitation” bills have been floated in the Washington legislature. This year, grandparent visitation was introduced in the form of House Bill 1108 and Senate Bill 5071.
These bills would have enabled a grandparent to petition a court to order visitation of their grandchildren against the wishes of the parents. If the bills had passed, a court could have granted visitation rights even when both parents were together and there was no determination of the parents being unfit.
Over the years, Home School Legal Defense Association has represented several families where the grandparents tried any means available to stop the family from homeschooling, including turning the family in to social services on false charges. Thankfully, such grandparents are the exception rather than the rule. Most of the grandparents HSLDA knows are very supportive of homeschooling, and some even help with their grandchildren’s home education program.
Washington’s previous grandparent visitation statutes have been ruled to be unconstitutional by the U.S. Supreme Court in Troxel v. Granville. The most recent landmark parental rights case from the Supreme Court, Troxel held that the prior statute “unconstitutionally interferes with the fundamental right of parents to rear their children.” For more information on Troxel, go to www.hslda.org/Troxel.
Many homeschooling families responded to HSLDA’s e-lerts on these bills and contacted the Washington legislature. Largely due to these calls, the bills failed to move out of committee and are dead for this year.
An integral part of parents’ right to teach their children at home in this country is based on our nation’s recognition of the fundamental right of parents to direct the care, custody, and control of the education and upbringing of their children. Because of this, HSLDA is opposed to any grandparent visitation bill that would enable a court to grant visitation against the wishes of fit parents. Any legislation dealing with this issue should presume that a fit parent makes decisions in the best interests of his or her children.
— by Thomas J. Schmidt