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9/20/2004 5:00:26 PM
Home School Legal Defense Association
New Jersey--Bill Would Outlaw Homeschooling for Some Kids Who Need It the Most

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From the HSLDA E-lert Service...
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September 20, 2004


New Jersey--Bill Would Outlaw Homeschooling for Some Kids Who Need It
the Most


A bill has been introduced in the New Jersey legislature, A3185, that
would outlaw homeschooling for children in the care, custody, or
supervision of the Division of Youth and Family Services (DYFS).

The Task Force of homeschool organizations that came together to
defeat Assemblywoman Loretta Weinberg's A1918 is taking steps to
oppose A3185.


ACTION REQUESTED

Please stay alert for future developments.


REASONS TO OPPOSE A 3185

1. Tragically abused and neglected children are often placed in the
care of the Division of Youth and Family Services. These children may
never have received stable, loving parental care, or consistent
support from a responsible adult. They may have suffered unspeakable
maltreatment. For some of these children, the best possible therapy
might be to allow a foster family, with an excellent track record, to
homeschool them. Healing for them may come while spending time with a
loving adult, rather than being placed in a crowded classroom and
bounced from teacher to teacher.

2. This bill may prevent a judge from doing what is best for a child.
Under current law, a judge can permit a child who is under DYFS care
to be homeschooled, if that would be best for the child. Sometimes
judges take jurisdiction over a child but let the child stay with his
parents. Continuation of homeschooling may be the very best choice in
that case. What is best for one child may not be best for another. The
judge's hands should not be tied. If a judge has fewer options, it's
going to be harder for him to do what is truly best for the child.

3. This bill will traumatize children by causing them to be abruptly
yanked out of the educational setting to which they are accustomed. In
some cases, DYFS can have control of a child for three days before a
judge even looks at the case. During this 3 day period, it may be
best for the child to stay in his customary homeschool setting. DYFS
should have the authority to do that. Some homeschoolers live in
districts where the local public school is very violent. A child who
is safe in homeschool may suddenly be placed at risk of attack and
injury if thrust into a violent public school.

4. A3185 ignores reality. Millions of children across the country are
being homeschooled safely with superb results--including many foster
children. Study after study has shown homeschooling is successful,
including a study just published by David Frances, a public school
psychologist, and Timothy Keefe, a professor of educational psychology
at the University of Texas, Austin, showing that homeschoolers have
better social skills than others. Homeschooled children are no more
likely than others to be victims of abuse or neglect. By forbidding
homeschooling for every child in DYFS custody in every circumstance,
the law says homeschooling is always the worst choice. This is simply
wrong.


Sincerely,

Scott Woodruff
HSLDA Staff Attorney




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