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1/23/2003 12:09:39 PM
Home School Legal Defense Association
Utah--Legislation Would Mandate "Cooperation" With School Districts

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From the HSLDA E-lert Service...
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January 23, 2003

Dear HSLDA Members and Friends,

For some years, legislators have been trying to fix one small
loophole in Utah law. Unfortunately, each time they try to fix the
problem, they make the same mistake. Once again, Home School Legal
Defense Association must ask Utah homeschoolers to defend their
liberties by amending or defeating an act that would require parents
to "cooperate" with school officials.

This year Representative Duane E. Bourdeaux has submitted House Bill
76, which would amend Utah Code sec.53A-11-101(3)(b). Under existing
law, it is a crime for a parent to knowingly "refuse to respond to a
written request" from the local school about a child who is believed
to be truant. Apparently, some parents of truant children are
"responding" to the school officials, but are not "cooperating" with
them. If this statute did not affect homeschoolers, we would not urge
any action. Unfortunately, many homeschooled children in Utah do not
have written approval from their local school district, and therefore
might be considered "truant" under some circumstances. A law that
requires parents of "truant" children to "cooperate" with school
officials might put homeschoolers in the position of violating a
criminal law.

ACTION REQUESTED

1. Please call or write Representative Bourdeaux at 870 North Cornell
Street, Salt Lake City, Utah 84116 (Phone 801-596-9081). Politely
explain that this bill might affect some homeschoolers and ask the
Representative to work with state homeschool organizations to correct
the problem.

2. Forward this message to other homeschoolers you know.

BACKGROUND

This bill is identical to one that Representative Bourdeaux
introduced in 2002. Homeschoolers expressed their concerns about the
wording last year, and the bill was blocked. The previous year,
Representative Bourdeaux had introduced similar language, which also
failed to pass. This is now the third consecutive session in which
this representative has tried to push this issue through the House.

Normally, we would urge our member families to contact their own
legislators or members of the committee that is considering such
legislation. Since Representative Bourdeaux keeps trying to bring the
same basic material to the Legislature, however, it may be helpful
for families to communicate with him directly. Without a significant
outpouring of protest, Representative Bourdeaux may succeed in
criminalizing some homeschooling families.

We encourage each member family to be courteous in all dealings with
elected representatives. Thank you for your help on this important
situation.

Sincerely,

Scott W. Somerville
HSLDA Staff Attorney


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