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5/21/2008 3:51:53 PM
Home School Legal Defense Association
Louisiana: Calls Needed--Bill Limits Parental Rights!

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From the HSLDA E-lert Service...
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May 21, 2008

Louisiana: Calls Needed--Bill Limits Parental Rights!

Dear HSLDA Members and Friends:

House Bill 1091 will be heard in the House Education Committee
Thursday, May 22. This bill would prohibit a student who is 17 or 18
from being withdrawn from public or private school except for one of
five specific reasons. Even then, in order to withdraw a student would
have to obtain the written consent of the chief administrator of the
school and undergo an exit interview.

This bill is not a homeschool issue, but it will severely limit when
parents can decide that their children should be withdrawn from school
to work or move on to other educational options. House Bill 1091 will
not prohibit parents from removing their children from public school
to educate them in a private school or home study program.

House Bill 1091 has appeared on the Senate Education Committee agenda
for Thursday, May 22. We need your calls now to urge the committee to
stop this bill as restrictive of parents' rights to direct their
children's education, unnecessarily requiring them to remain in school
unless officials grant permission to withdraw.

Please call and email today and tomorrow all of the Senate Education
Committee members listed below.

ACTION SUGGESTED:

You may contact each of the Senate Education Committee members listed,
with this message, in your own words:

"Please oppose House Bill 1091. This bill greatly limits when parents
can withdraw their 17- or 18-year-olds from school for work or other
educational opportunities other than secondary school. Parents have a
fundamental right to direct their children's education, and House Bill
1091 will restrict that right."

Senate Education Committee

Senator Ben Nevers (Chairman)
Phone: (985) 732-6863
Email: websen@legis.state.la.us

Senator Eric LaFleur (Vice-Chairman)
Phone: (337) 363-5019
Email: lafleure@legis.state.la.us

Senator Bill Cassidy
Phone: (225) 925-2522
Email: Lasen16@legis.state.la.us

Senator Jack Donahue
Phone: (985) 727-7949
Email: donahuej@legis.state.la.us

Senator Yvonne Dorsey
Phone: (225) 342-9700
Email: dorseyy@legis.state.la.us

Senator Ann Duplessis
Phone: (504) 243-7795
Email: duplessisa@legis.state.la.us

Senator Gerald Long
Phone: (318) 628-5799
Email: longg@legis.state.la.us

BACKGROUND:

Currently, parents can withdraw their 17- or 18-year-old children from
school by providing written consent. Often, in situations where this
occurs, the parent feels the student would get a better education in
the workplace, an apprentice-type situation, or an alternative
education opportunity.

Under House Bill 1091, in order to withdraw a 17- or 18-year-old
student from school, parents would have to: 1) provide written consent
to the withdrawal, 2) participate in a exit interview with their child
and sign a written acknowledgement that withdrawal from school would
likely reduce the student's future earning potential, 3) obtain the
written consent for the student's withdrawal from the chief
administrator of the school. The withdrawal must be due to one or more
of the following: (a) student is pregnant or actively parenting, (b)
student is incarcerated or adjudicated, (c) student is
institutionalized or in a residential facility, (d) student has
chronic physical or mental illness, or (e) student has family or
economic hardships. No other reason for withdrawal would be permitted.

The purpose of House Bill 1091 is to address the dropout rate.
However, just as raising the compulsory attendance age will not reduce
the dropout rate, neither with will an attempt to further restrict who
may withdraw from school. In fact, the two states with the highest
high school completion rates, Maryland at 94.5% and North Dakota at
94.7%, compel attendance only to age 16. The state with the lowest
completion rate (Oregon: 75.4%) compels attendance to age 18. (Figures
are three-year averages, 1996 through 1998.)

Twenty-nine states only require attendance to age 16. Older children
unwilling to learn can cause classroom disruptions and even violence,
making learning harder for their classmates who truly want to learn.

House Bill 1091 would restrict parents' freedom to decide if their 17-
or 18-year-olds are ready for college or the workforce. (Some
17-year-olds who are not academically inclined benefit more from
valuable work experience than from being forced to sit in a
classroom.)

This bill has already passed the House so we need your action now to
stop it. Please call now to urge the Senate Education Committee to
defeat House Bill 1091.

Sincerely,

Thomas J. Schmidt
HSLDA Staff Attorney

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