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6/10/2003 4:06:36 PM
Home School Legal Defense Association
Michigan--Meeting Held to Urge No New Regulations for Homeschoolers

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From the HSLDA E-lert Service...
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June 10, 2003

Dear HSLDA Members and Friends,

On May 30, 2003, Paul De Pree, homeschooling father and trustee of
Patrick Henry College, organized a meeting at state senator Tony
Stamas' office. The purpose of the meeting was to put to rest certain
concerns that there was a need for future legislation in Michigan to
require more accountability for homeschoolers.

In addition to the senator, Representative Sandy Caul, Representative
John Moolenar, and Judge Doreen Allen were in attendance.
Furthermore, Loraine and Pam Durfee, Dan and Sarah Hickman, and Steve
and Michelle Mork, all homeschool parents, were there. HSLDA Senior
Counsel Chris Klicka attended by speakerphone.

Chris Klicka spoke first, describing the extraordinary academic
success of homeschoolers at the elementary and secondary levels. He
also explained how homeschoolers on the average score above average
on the college entrance exams and, according to surveys at
universities, the homeschoolers have a higher grade point average
than the college average. He briefly described the intense legal
struggle to be free in Michigan over the 18 years since he
represented families that were homeschooling.

Regarding a question from Judge Allen concerning how the law
enforcement authorities can deal with parents who are fraudulent
homeschoolers, Klicka emphasized, "In all 50 states, including
Michigan, there is a compulsory attendance law with penalties if a
child is not being educated. In Michigan, since the homeschool law
does not require the parents to notify, the burden is on the school
district and law enforcement authorities to obtain credible evidence
that a family is not in compliance with the law. Upon obtaining that
evidence, law enforcement can bring truancy charges against the
truant family." Klicka emphasized how regulating everyone and
requiring accountability takes the freedom away from the vast
majority of innocent parents. The better way is to simply penalize
the law breakers.

The Hickman family explained the private accountability that takes
place through homeschool support groups, while the Durfees explained
their first hand terrible experience with their own child in the
public schools. The Morks gave a short rendition of a typical day in
the life of a homeschool family, while Aaron and Joanna De Pree, the
grown children of Paul and Kathy Du Pree, explained their success in
college and how their homeschool education prepared them for life.

The meeting continued for almost two hours, with the representative
from the Family Independence Agency (FIA) stating that, "Michigan's
law is so loose that those people who are looking for a safe haven to
practice incest will flock to the state of Michigan because they know
no one will be checking up on them if they chose homeschooling." A
large part of the second hour involved talking about the subject of
incest and the FIA representative's attempt to link homeschoolers
with this despicable conduct. The FIA representative believed that
accountability to license experts and public school officials was
necessary to prevent incest. Klicka and the others all explained
that the issue was about education of the children and that the
penalties must be severe when situations involve such crimes. There
is no research or statistics showing that homeschoolers have any
difficulty in this area.

The final concurrence of the representatives, senator, and judge, was
that homeschooling is a legal right that must be protected. They
were all supportive of the status quo in Michigan, which is one of
the best laws in the country. We are thankful to Paul Du Pree and
all his efforts to help bring about this meeting that educated and
created strong advocates in the Michigan Legislature for
homeschooling.

Sincerely,

Chris Klicka
HSLDA Senior Counsel

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