Name That Bill or The Night of the Toxic Home Schoolers…
It's a hot California afternoon. You have finished home schooling. You are tired, trying to watch three children and prepare dinner. The telephone rings. A surly voice on the other end of the line refuses to identify himself adequately, but he obviously knows you and your family. The caller tells you he has a map in front of him and he wants to know what side of the street you live on! “What side of the street I live on?” Again you ask, and again he refuses to identify himself. He obviously has access to the information on your private school affidavit filed with the local school district (your name, address and the names and ages of your children).
Now you are really starting to worry. Not only is the caller armed with a street map, but now he threatens you with “Assembly Bill 3205 prohibits any commercial business or private school from being located within 1,000 feet of a public school.” Again, impatiently he demands, “What side of the street are you on?” You control the urge to respond, “The sunny side, of course” and immediately call your lawyer.
HSLDA obtained a copy of AB 3205, and it is evident that the bill was never intended to have anything to do with education, but rather, the potential danger to the community from hazardous materials released from commercial businesses, and in particular, the danger to school children:
“Existing law requires any business that handles a hazardous material to establish a business plan for emergency response to a release or threatened release of the material…The bill would also prohibit…a facility to be constructed within 1,000 feet of a school without first requiring a risk management and prevention plan…” (AB 3205, Chap. 1589(1))
Unfortunately, this is not an example of an isolated incident, but rather an example of the many situations that arise as a result of the local authorities' misinterpretation or misapplication of law. These problems are often resolved quickly, but always leave home schooling families with a great deal of uncertainty and feeling harassed, and rightfully so.
We thank the member that notified us of this situation and use it as an example to remind you to:
- never volunteer information to unknown callers;
- always try to get the name of the caller;
- try to get an address, phone number and any other pertinent information; and
- DO NOT LET THE PUBLIC SCHOOL CHILDREN LEAVE TOXIC WASTE IN YOUR YARD!