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10/25/2004 4:06:15 PM
Home School Legal Defense Association
Washington--Yakima Truancy Policy Limits Freedom

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From the HSLDA E-lert Service...
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October 25, 2004


Washington--Yakima Truancy Policy Limits Freedom


Dear Washington HSLDA members and friends:

We want to alert you to the fact that the Yakima School District
implemented a daytime curfew/student truancy program with the Yakima
and Union Gap police departments earlier this month. Home School
Legal Defense Association is opposed to daytime curfews because they
restrict the fundamental constitutional rights of homeschool minors.
We are working with local homeschool families to obtain a copy of this
policy to review it for possible action. If your local school district
has a similar policy that we are not aware of please let us know.

The policy that has been implemented authorizes the local police to
stop and question minors who appear to be school age and are seen in
public during normal school hours. The policy allows the officers to
transfer these minors to the appropriate school, to the Yakima School
District or to the police station.

We understand that the Yakima School District is urging homeschool
families who have minor children to obtain an identification card from
the Yakima registration office. This ID card is not required by law.
We are also concerned that the procedures for obtaining this ID card
could be abused. The information obtained by the Yakima School
District to issue these cards may not be private and could possibly be
available for inspection and copying under the Revised Code of
Washington (RCW) 42.17.270 by any person. While RCW 42.17.310 does
protect "personal information in any files maintained for students in
public schools" it has never been tested for a homeschool student's
records/information.

While HSLDA is opposed to ID cards, from a practical standpoint, if
your children will be in the Yakima area without an adult present you
might have them carry a note from you verifying that they are
homeschooled along with your phone number for confirmation. You might
also have your child carry a copy of the declaration of intent that
you submitted to the District.

From the reports we have heard the homeschool students that have been
stopped so far under this policy have had no difficultly if they have
been able to verify that they were being homeschooled. However, we
will continue to monitor the situation and let you know if any action
is necessary.


Reasons we are opposed to daytime curfews:

- Daytime curfews violate a minor's fundamental constitutional right
to freedom of movement as guaranteed by the Fourteenth Amendment on
the public streets, highways and areas of the city without being
subjected to prior governmental restraint.

- Daytime curfews violate the fundamental legal principle of the
presumption of innocence. This presumption is protected by the Due
Process Clause of the Fourteenth and Fifth Amendments to the United
States Constitution.

- Daytime curfews result in violations of the minors' Fourth Amendment
rights to be secure against unreasonable searches and seizures.

- Daytime curfews interfere with the parents' fundamental right to
direct the upbringing and education of their children, especially for
parents with children in small private schools that are not restricted
only to the confines of the classroom to provide a quality education
for their children.

- Daytime curfews are, in essence, beefed-up truancy ordinances. All
states have already addressed the area of truancy in a comprehensive
way. There is no need for new laws addressing the issue of truancy.
The present laws addressing minors simply need to be enforced.

- Daytime curfews will result in selective enforcement. Since officers
will not be stopping every juvenile during school hours to check their
ID, they will be selective. This opens up the extremely dangerous
potential for unequal treatment of minors based upon race, appearance,
dress, etc. This type of ordinance will simply divert attention from
real crime prevention programs and interfere with effective police
work.

- The serious juvenile law-breaker will not be deterred by the daytime
curfew. However, hundreds, if not thousands of innocent minors will
suffer the inconvenience of unwarranted stops, detentions and
harassment, not to mention the added cost for taxpayers for the
enforcement of the curfew.

- Daytime curfews train young citizens to accept, as normal,
constraints that are inconsistent with the freedom they should be
educated to enjoy and use responsibly in their adult years.

- Daytime curfews send a message to self-disciplined and responsible
young people that the community makes no distinction between them and
irresponsible adults who abuse freedom in ways detrimental to the
community.

- Daytime curfews will likely result in registration of privately
educated students with police departments with the attendant issuance
of ID cards and badges.


Sincerely,

Thomas J. Schmidt
HSLDA Staff Attorney
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-> Who are the nation's best lobbyists?

We don't know that this has ever been determined; but we do know
that HSLDA's National Center for Home Education is the only
national organization lobbying on behalf of homeschoolers on
Capitol Hill.

More reasons to join HSLDA...
http://www.hslda.org/elink.asp?id=1102

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