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2/26/2003 3:00:57 PM
Home School Legal Defense Association
Illinois--Homeschoolers Face Legislative Threats

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From the HSLDA E-lert Service...
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February 26, 2003

Dear HSLDA Members and Friends,

A few months ago regional superintendent Bruce Dennison in the Stark
and Bureau County area contacted many families about their
homeschooling. Home School Legal Defense Association immediately
jumped to the defense of our members when they were threatened with
home visits, curriculum approval, and "pre-trial" hearings. HSLDA
told the superintendent that attempts at implementing and enforcing
these procedures were illegal and unconstitutional. We explained how
they exceeded Illinois law and violated the civil and constitutional
rights of the families.

For more details of this story see:
http://www.hslda.org/hs/state/il/200211220.asp

Superintendent Dennison, realizing the problems with his tactics,
ceased bothering HSLDA members. To our knowledge, no additional
families have been harassed.

In the meantime, a new legislature has been elected in Illinois, and
many are concerned it will be unsympathetic to homeschool freedom.
HSLDA will stand with Christian Home Educators Coalition of Illinois
and the Illinois Christian Home Educators to fight any legislation
that would impose restrictions on homeschoolers.

A number of legislators have contacted HSLDA inquiring whether or not
the homeschoolers are interested in introducing a bill that would
clarify the law and guarantee homeschool freedom. These legislators
have indicated that if a bill was introduced they would have the
power to kill it if any objectionable amendments were attached. HSLDA
has been consulting with the state organizations in Illinois and the
legislators about our options. Meanwhile, one senator has introduced
a "shell bill" that contains no new language, but essentially keeps
open the option for legislation to be introduced if there is an
agreement amongst the homeschool leadership at the state level.

Homeschool legislation has passed in a number of states that were
completely Democrat-controlled because homeschooling is not a
partisan issue, but simply a parental-choice issue. Some in Illinois
believe that the present law is too precarious, allowing for
harassment as cited above. Introducing legislation specifically
recognizing homeschooling without any government restrictions or
accountability could create a safer legal atmosphere. Other
homeschoolers are completely satisfied with the current legal status
and do not want to make any legislative changes.

No decision has been or will be made by HSLDA to introduce
legislation. The decision will remain in the hands of Illinois
homeschoolers.

Sincerely,

Christopher J. Klicka
HSLDA Senior Counsel

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