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6/6/2003 5:49:14 PM
Home School Legal Defense Association
National Alert Update--U.S. Homeschoolers Help Persecuted Families in Ukraine

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

Dear HSLDA Members and Friends,

Last month, Home School Legal Defense Association sent out an alert
asking homeschool families in the United States to help the
homeschoolers in Ukraine. After the Ukrainian embassy reported they
received over 1,000 calls and emails, good things began to happen for
Ukraine's homeschool families.

Specifically, HSLDA sought to help six, Odessa region, Christian
families (the Krivosheev, Petrenko, Boboshko, Smirnikh, Kushnirenko,
and Kasyanenko families) who chose to homeschool their children.
Proceedings were underway to deprive these families of their parental
rights and remove their children from their own homes.

Your calls and emails made the difference. Our source in Ukraine has
informed us that the Department of Education in Kiev, the capital of
Ukraine, wrote a letter to the families stating that their
homeschooling is legal and that they are well within the boundaries
of Ukrainian law. The families say that "it is doubtful that the
government would have taken this step without your efforts." The
homeschoolers, who all live in the village of Shevchenko, are
committed to educating their children at home and now they can do it
with the federal government's backing. This makes their position
clearly stronger, although local authorities have not apologized.

Andrew Okhotin, of the Russian Evangelistic Ministries, has traveled
to Moscow and Ukraine to investigate the situation first hand. After
hearing the results, he stated: "The Lord used the prayers and
petitions of the families in the Home School Legal Defense
Association membership to stop what was clearly becoming a dangerous
situation which could have set tragic precedent. Thank you once
again for your assistance and for lending a helping hand to the
families who were clearly in need and in danger. May the Lord reward
and bless those who answered the call."

Although the cases have not officially been closed, they are not
actively being pursued and no fines have been levied. Ukraine
homeschoolers believe that there is no doubt the heat has been
removed since the local authorities have come under the scrutiny of
the federal government in Kiev. Andrew Okhotin explained to us that
during one of the incidents when one of the local school officials
was speaking to the families, she "pulled out a number of copies of
letters and faxes and asked when the petitions will stop." The
Ukraine embassy had been forwarding them all to the local
authorities.

Once again, homeschoolers have been used by God to assist a fledgling
homeschool movement in another country. We are thankful for this
result and hope to help establish a national Ukrainian homeschool
association. At present, Andrew Okhotin is willing to serve as our
main contact as he regularly travels between the United States and
the Russian and Ukrainian regions.

Thank you for helping us defend the rights of homeschoolers around
the world.

Sincerely,

Chris Klicka
HSLDA Senior Counsel

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