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10/29/2003 5:12:58 PM
Home School Legal Defense Association
New Jersey--Calls Needed to Stop Proposed Homeschool Legislation

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From the HSLDA E-lert Service...
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October 19, 2003

Dear HSLDA members and friends:

According to the Philadelphia Inquirer on-line (October 29)
Assemblywoman Mary T. Previte of Cherry Hill has ordered the drafting
of a bill that would place new restrictions on homeschool families.
The article says Previte's bill "would add oversight of homeschooled
children." Ms. Previte did not respond to our multiple phone calls
this afternoon.

Homeschoolers refuse to be scapegoats for the evident failure of
government officials to protect the starving children of Raymond and
Vanessa Jackson.

The responsible parties are already being punished. Nine social
workers were fired on Monday, October 27. The Jacksons are in jail
in lieu of $100,000 bail. A criminal investigation against one or
more state agencies or employees is being considered.

Homeschooling was not the problem. Punishing New Jersey
homeschoolers is not the solution. The problem remains with the New
Jersey Division of Youth and Family Services (DYFS), which has
disgraced itself-again. Social workers visited this family 38 times.

Action Requested:

New Jersey families do not want this bill. Please call Mary Previte's
office. Her telephone number is (856) 428-3343. If you believe her
idea of mandating "oversight" is mere scapegoating, your courteous
message to her may be as simple as,

"Homeschoolers refuse to be scapegoats for the reported criminal
actions of Raymond and Vanessa Jackson and the gross negligence of
government social workers. Don't punish thousands of homeschoolers
for the failure of the Division of Youth and Family Services. Please
publicly renounce any plans to punish innocent families for the
government's failure. Please insist that DYFS be reformed"

Background:

The media reports that the Jacksons homeschooled these children.

They have reported that Raymond and Vanessa Jackson starved their
four adopted boys by feeding them a meager diet of pancake batter,
cereal, and peanut butter and jelly. The 19-year old was discovered
rummaging in a trash can for food. Social workers visited the home 38
times over several years but allowed this to continue.

If the media reports are true, the Jacksons have committed
disgraceful, insufferable acts of cruelty to their children, and
deserve the full application of the law.

Government employees are no substitute for a loving mother and
father. This case has nothing to do with homeschooling but everything
to do with government incompetence. The case is the latest in a
series of widely publicized problems with DYFS. In January the
governor ordered an emergency overhaul of the troubled agency and has
announced another review of the safety of children in state care.

Thank you for standing with us to protect homeschool freedom.

Sincerely,



Scott Woodruff
HSLDA Staff Attorney



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