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3/15/2005 11:25:46 AM
Home School Legal Defense Association
Rhode Island--Calls Needed Urgently to Stop State-Imposed Sex Education in Homeschools

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From the HSLDA E-lert Service...
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March 15, 2005


Rhode Island--Calls Needed Urgently to Stop State-Imposed Sex
Education in Homeschools


Dear HSLDA members and friends:

A bill that would give the state power to force government-controlled
sex education in homeschools is scheduled for a hearing this Wednesday
in Providence. We urgently need your help to stop this bill.

House Bill 5354 would prohibit a school committee from approving a
homeschool program unless it teaches: human sexuality, family planning
and sexually transmitted diseases, health benefits and side effects of
all contraceptives as a means to prevent pregnancy and sexually
transmitted diseases, and teaches young people how to make
"responsible decisions" about sexuality. The new sex education
teaching requirements would have to be completed in a way that is
"medically accurate, culturally sensitive, and respects community
values," but does not "teach or promote religion." Therefore, if you
attempt to teach any of these topics from a Christian point of view,
the school committee could prohibit you from homeschooling your
children.

This horrific experiment in government-mandated, radically secular sex
education must be stopped immediately.


ACTION REQUESTED

1. Please call all the members of the House Health, Education and
Welfare Committee. They are listed below. If one of them is your own
representative, make sure you mention that when you call them. Your
message can be as simple as:

"Please oppose H 5354. It interferes with a homeschool family's
constitutional right to teach basic morality."

Emails are not as effective as phone calls, but we have listed email
addresses as well. If you do not know who your representative is
please use our legislative toolbox at http://www.hslda.org/toolbox

Representative Grace Diaz Member
rep-diaz@rilin.state.ri.us
401-467-8413

Representative Peter T. Ginaitt Vice Chairperson
rep-ginaitt@rilin.state.ri.us
(401) 732-2695

Representative Arthur Handy Secretary
rep-handy@rilin.state.ri.us
(401) 785-8996

Representative Charlene Lima Member
rep-lima@rilin.state.ri.us
(401) 946-5707

Representative John J. Loughlin Jr. Member
rep-loughlin@rilin.state.ri.us
(401) 625-9889

Representative Joseph M. McNamara Chairperson
rep-mcnamara@rilin.state.ri.us
401-941-8319

Representative Rene R. Menard Member
rep-menard@rilin.state.ri.us
(401) 765-1499

Representative Paul E. Moura Member
rep-moura@rilin.state.ri.us
(401) 222-6690

Representative Richard W. Singleton Member
rep-singleton@rilin.state.ri.us
(401) 265-4965

Representative Susan Story Member
rep-story@rilin.state.ri.us
401-245-5083

Representative Raymond J. Sullivan Jr. Member
rep-sullivan@rilin.state.ri.us
(401) 828-9207

Representative Stephen R. Ucci Member
rep-ucci@rilin.state.ri.us
(401) 275-5559

2. Come to the hearing on Wednesday to show your opposition. A big
crowd will help convince the legislators that this bill should be
defeated. I plan to be there to testify against the bill and I will
ask all the homeschoolers present to raise their hands to show their
opposition to the bill. This is an excellent opportunity to teach
your children about democracy in action. The time of the hearing is
"at the rise of the House," which means when they finish their
business for the day. Usually this is at 2 or 3 P.M., although the
committee chairman has said the hearing will be around 5 P.M. It will
be in Room 135 of the Statehouse Building.

3. Many homeschool families do not have email. Please call families
you know and ask them to make phone calls to oppose the bill and come
to the hearing on Wednesday.


BACKGROUND

1. Rhode Island Law sec. 16-22-4 forbids a school committee from
approving a homeschool program unless it provides instruction in
"health and physical education." H 5354 changes this by adding a
definition of 'health education" which includes many aspects of
sexuality.

2. Under H 5354, a school committee would be required to reject a
homeschool program if it failed to teach any of the items within the
new definition of "health education" or failed to teach any of those
items in the manner prescribed by the bill.

3. The Commissioner of Education has stated that school committees can
require that students are tested in all areas of instruction. H 5354
would give school committees power to decide what a student would be
required to score on a sex education test. If the test did not cover
all the required items, or did not cover them in the required manner,
the school committee could prohibit the child from being homeschooled
again.

4. The bill mandates that sex education is taught in a manner that
"does not teach or promote religion." Therefore, the school committee
may prevent you from homeschooling if you plan to use the Bible to
teach on this subject.

5. Parents of children in "schools" are allowed to opt out of sex
education under RI law 16-22-17(c) and 16-22-18(c). However, there is
no provision specifically allowing homeschoolers to opt out.
Representative Elizabeth Dennigan, the bill sponsor, has expressed a
willingness to amend her bill. I have asked her to send me the exact
language of the amendment. Until I can review the amendment and
determine whether it protects homeschool families, H 5354 continues to
be a bill that must be opposed.

6. The bill defines "health education" as:

"education of students in grades kindergarten through twelve regarding
human development and sexuality, including education on family
planning and sexually transmitted diseases, that: (a) is age
appropriate, medically accurate, culturally sensitive and respects
community values; (b) does not teach or promote religion; (c) teaches
that abstinence is the only sure way to avoid pregnancy or sexually
transmitted diseases; (d) stresses the value of abstinence while not
ignoring those young people who have had or are having sexual
intercourse; (e) provides information about the health benefit and
side effects of all contraceptives and barrier methods as a means to
prevent pregnancy; (f) provides information on the health benefits and
side effects of all contraceptive methods as a means to reduce the
risk of contracting sexually transmitted diseases, including HIV/AIDS;
(g) encourages family communication about sexuality between parent and
child; (h) teaches young people the skills to make responsible
decisions about sexuality, including how to avoid unwanted verbal,
physical, and sexual advances and how not to make unwanted verbal,
physical, and sexual advances; and (i) teaches young people how
alcohol and drug use can affect responsible decision making."

Thank you for standing with us for freedom.

Sincerely,


Scott A. Woodruff, Esq.
HSLDA Staff Attorney



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-> How long are you in for?

Some families are facing what seems like a lifelong commitment to
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graduating and some just reaching school age. If you're going to
be "in" for a while, consider a lifetime membership with HSLDA.
It's a good deal for families with more than 10 years of
homeschooling ahead.

More reasons to join HSLDA...
http://www.hslda.org/elink.asp?id=1936

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