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3/6/2003 2:44:13 PM
Home School Legal Defense Association
Texas--More Calls Needed to Defeat Bill to Regulate Homeschoolers

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From the HSLDA E-lert Service...
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March 6, 2003

Dear HSLDA Members and Friends,

Thank you for your time and effort spent protecting homeschool
freedom! Many of you have responded to our elert of Feb. 28
notifying you of Senate Bill 586. This bill would require all
homeschoolers to be registered with the state commissioner of
education and would open the door for further regulations.

The bill states: "A home-schooled child is exempt under Subsection
(a)(1) only if the child's parent or guardian provides to the
commissioner written acknowledgment on a form adopted by the
commissioner that the parent or guardian accepts complete
responsibility for adequately teaching the child based on a
curriculum designed to meet basic education goals."

Texas homeschoolers enjoy the greatest liberty to homeschool of
virtually all the states. Senator Gonzalo Barrientos (the sponsor of
S.B. 586) is offering to amend the bill, but no amendment would be
satisfactory since it would involve some limit on the freedom of
homeschoolers. Unlike many other states, homeschoolers in Texas have
the clear blessing and protection of a landmark Texas Supreme Court
case. There is no need to compromise.

HSLDA's Texas Legislative Counsel Tom Sanders visited Senator
Barrientos' office and he learned that the senator has received over
1,000 calls and 1,000 emails from homeschoolers expressing their
opposition to the bill. We encourage you to continue to contact
Senator Barrientos.

While no action has been taken on the bill so far, we want to make
sure to send the message that Texas homeschoolers are opposed to any
change in the law.

A lieutenant with the Houston Police Department recently emailed
Senator Barrientos. His email clearly explained why S.B. 586 is
unnecessary to address their concerns over truancy in the public
school system.

"I am a lieutenant with the Houston Police Department, and I have on
occasion been called upon to enforce truancy laws. The regular
offenders are often rebellious, anti-parent, anti-police, and anti-
authority. Often this attitude can be attributed to parents who are
apathetic toward their children's education and welfare. This is in
stark contrast to the homeschooled juveniles I meet, the vast
majority of whom are very respectful of parents, police, and other
authorities.

"Requiring homeschooling families to register is an expenditure of
limited resources that misses the problem it seeks to address. We in
government should direct our efforts against parents who are
apathetic towards and un-involved in their children's education.
Ironically, this bill mistakenly targets those parents who have
expressed the greatest concern and involvement in their children's
education.

"I have spent 20 years in law enforcement, and I have had to take
many runaways, truants, and juvenile delinquents into custody. In
those same 20 years I cannot remember ever needing to arrest a
homeschooled child. I commend you for your desire to solve truancy
problems, and for your other efforts to make our state a better place
to live. However, I oppose any (even well-intentioned) laws that
have the effect of harassing homeschooling families, who have proven
to be some of the most patriotic law-abiding citizens I have
encountered in my years of law enforcement."

Please continue calling and emailing Senator Barrientos' office. For
more information on this bill visit our website at:
http://www.hslda.org/Legislation/State/tx/2003/TXSB586/default.asp .

For Christ and liberty,

Chris Klicka
HSLDA Senior Counsel

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