November 19, 2013

UK Mother Loses Right to Homeschool Disabled Son

Court Uses Same Legal Standard Found in UN Disabilities Treaty

William A. Estrada, Esq.
Director of Federal Relations


Will Estrada has been leading our efforts to defend homeschooling on Capitol Hill since 2006. As the oldest of eight kids, and a homeschool graduate who married a homeschool graduate, he has a passion for protecting homeschool freedom. Read more >>

On Thursday, November 21, the U.S. Senate’s Foreign Relations Committee will hold a second and likely final hearing on the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (UNCRPD). A committee vote to send the treaty to the full Senate has not been scheduled, but will probably occur in December. At the same time, more evidence is coming to light of just how dangerous the UNCRPD really is.

In the United Kingdom, The Telegraph reported that a mother who homeschooled her son with cerebral palsy, who is now 18, lost the right to continue to teach her son and have him live at home. According to the news story, the mother was told by her local county council in 2011 that her son would not be allowed to return to his family’s home. Authorities then placed him in a nursing home 100 miles away because the mother’s decision to homeschool him was “not in his best interests.”

After losing at a lower court, the mother brought her case to the Court of Appeal in London. The appeal judge sided with the county council and the lower court, and against the mother, stating from the bench: “The [original] judge concluded that the education was good for him, was in his best interests and that he was happy at school.”

Aligned with the UN

“The best interests of the child.” This is the same language found in the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC), and the UNCRPD. The UNCRPD says in Article 7, “In all actions concerning children with disabilities, the best interests of the child shall be a primary consideration.” The United Kingdom has ratified both the UNCRC and the UNCRPD, and has also changed its laws to comply with this provision, and other provisions in these treaties.

Supporters of the UNCRPD have told homeschoolers that we have nothing to fear from ratification of this treaty. Yet here is a case from a nation which has ratified these two UN treaties where a court used the same legal standard found in the treaties to break apart a family.

Another top story about the UNCRPD is that AMVETS, a national organization for veterans, recently announced that it was withdrawing its past support of the UNCRPD. You can read the story here, and their letter to senators here.

Keep Calling Your Senator

The U.S. Senate must not ratify the UNCRPD. Please continue calling your two senators and urge them to reject this dangerous UN treaty. You can reach your senators by calling the Capitol Switchboard at 202-224-3121, by using our legislative toolbox to type your address and find their contact info, or by using HSLDA’s emailing tool to send a prewritten letter to your senators by filling out your information here. Your message can be as simple as the following:

“I urge you to oppose the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities. This treaty surrenders U.S. sovereignty to unelected UN bureaucrats and will threaten parental care of children with disabilities. Our nation already has laws to protect Americans with disabilities. This treaty is unnecessary and will hurt families by giving bureaucrats the power to decide what is in the best interests of a child with disabilities, not the child’s parents.”

You defeated the CRPD last year. We can do it again. You can visit HSLDA’s action page here to learn more about the CRPD, and you can read the text of the CRPD here.

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