From the HSLDA E-lert Service:


2/18/2004 3:48:29 PM
Home School Legal Defense Association
Utah--End Government Discrimination Against Homeschoolers

From the HSLDA E-lert Service...

February 18, 2004

Utah--End Government Discrimination Against Homeschoolers

Dear HSLDA members and friends:

Homeschoolers in many states have discovered that many divorce judges
are prejudiced against homeschooling. When a marriage fails, judges
are supposed to decide what happens with the family property and with
the children's future. Custody decisions are supposed to be made "
in the best interests of the child." Unfortunately, few judges are
sufficiently informed about how beneficial home education can be to
children. As a result, many divorces deprive a child of the chance
to learn at home.

House Bill 197 would help solve this problem. It prohibits state
agencies from using a parent's choice of education or attitude
towards public education against them in any custody decision.
Oklahoma, which is the only other state with similar law, has proven
that this kind of legislation really can level the playing field for
homeschool families. We need your help to end the bias against
homeschooling in Utah.

This bill has passed the House and is now in the Senate-well on its
way to becoming law. It is now in the Senate Judiciary, Law
Enforcement, and Criminal Justice Committee. We need a final push to
carry it through!

Action Requested:

Please call each member of the Senate Judiciary, Law Enforcement, and
Criminal Justice Committee. Tell them, " Please support HB 197. This
bill will prevent discriminatory treatment against a parent's choice
in education for their children."

Sen. Gregory S. Bell, Chair: Office (801) 971-2001
Sen. Patrice M. Arent: Office (801) 538-1406
Sen. D. Chris Buttars: Office (801) 280-2697
Sen. Mike Dmitrich: Office (801) 538-1406
Sen. James M. Evans: Home (801) 322-3452
Sen. David L. Gladwell: Office (801) 927-1110
Sen. Lyle W. Hillyard: Office (435) 752-2610
Sen. L. Alma Mansell: Office (801) 563-7600


The vast majority of government officials, including juvenile judges,
assume that traditional classrooms (especially public schools) are
best for children. While most courts now protect a parent's
fundamental right to educate a child, when that right is directly
challenged by the government, very few courts are willing to side
with a homeschooling parent when there is a dispute within the

One way to protect homeschoolers from official bias in favor of
traditional education is to explicitly prohibit any consideration of
parental choice in education in a custody dispute. This would make
the choice of schools, like the choice of churches, something that
courts leave to the conscience of a parent. We encourage all Utah
homeschoolers to support legislation that will end official prejudice
against home education.


Scott Somerville
HSLDA Staff Attorney

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