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11/12/2002 4:45:47 PM
Home School Legal Defense Association
Illinois--Homeschoolers Facing Harassment

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From the HSLDA E-lert Service...
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November 12, 2002


Dear HSLDA Members and Friends,

We have several important items to share with you.

A regional superintendent of schools, who covers the three county
area of Bureau, Stark, and Henry counties, has thrown down the
gauntlet, challenging the rights of homeschool families under his
jurisdiction. It is reported that over 22 families have been
contacted by the regional superintendent who has demanded that they
attend a "pre-trial hearing" or he will file a truancy petition.
HSLDA is presently representing several of the families. At HSLDA's
recommendation, one family submitted a short statement to the school
district that they were in compliance with the Illinois code and the
Illinois Supreme Court in People v. Levisen. The family thereafter
received a call from the school district insisting that they comply
with a home visit. To make matters worse, one of the district
attorneys in the area has already told HSLDA that he will prosecute
homeschool families that do not submit to these illegal requests of
the superintendent.

One of the truant officers has been delivering to local homeschool
families notices of their required attendance at these "pre-trial
hearings." He even told one homeschool family that he "could take
the children away if he wanted to." The superintendent and district
attorney argue that the burden is on the families to prove that they
are innocent.

HSLDA, however, has put the regional superintendent's office on
notice that he is exceeding his authority as delegated to him by the
legislature and the Illinois Code. Illinois statutes and case law
are straightforward and simple. Homeschooling is legal in Illinois,
and homeschoolers do not need school district approval to educate
their own children.

For more information about the Illinois homeschooling law visit:
http://www.hslda.org/laws/analysis/IL.asp

In addition to informing the school district of the right of these
families to operate without having their curriculum approved, we also
have shown the school district that home visits are unconstitutional.
Mandatory home visits are clear violations of a family's right to
privacy and the right to be free from unreasonable searches and
seizures, as guaranteed by the 14th Amendment of the U.S.
Constitution.

For more information on the unconstitutionality of home visits by
school officials visit:
http://www.hslda.org/docs/nche/000000/00000072.asp

Lastly, homeschoolers are under no legal obligation to attend "pre-
trial hearings" which have no standards or guarantees. When
questioned, the district attorney did not have any idea what
standards would be used to judge a homeschooler's curriculum. In one
case a family (who is not a member of HSLDA) allowed the public
school official into their home to look at the curriculum. He still
was not satisfied and pursued further action against them.

The stakes are rising higher, and HSLDA is prepared to defend its
families against these intimidation tactics and harassment. HSLDA
will be notifying its members of further developments and the
possibility of grassroots action against this school district.

Please keep in mind that due to the results of the recent elections,
HSLDA will be working with the Christian Home Education Coalition and
the Illinois Christian Home Educators to vigilantly watch this next
legislative session. In light of the attempts of the previous
administration to require homeschoolers to submit their immunization
records and to lower the compulsory age, we expect that there is a
likelihood of this or even worse legislation being introduced in the
Illinois Legislature.

We know the last administration considered changing the education
code to include registration of homeschoolers. Fortunately the issue
was tabled during the negotiations and never saw the light of day.
This would be another requirement that certain anti-homeschool
legislators may be emboldened to introduce.

We urge homeschoolers to be prepared and willing to contact their
legislators upon receiving notice from HSLDA concerning dangerous
legislation.

Thank you for all your efforts for freedom in homeschooling!

Christopher J. Klicka
HSLDA Senior Counsel

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