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4/27/2011 3:54:59 PM
Home School Legal Defense Association
Illinois: Calls Needed to Stop Truancy Ordinance

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From the HSLDA E-lert Service...
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Illinois: Calls Needed to Stop Truancy Ordinance

Dear Members and Friends in Boone County, Illinois:

The Boone County State's attorney has proposed two different versions
of a county ordinance designed to reduce truancy, but both versions
set the stage for potentially harsh consequences for homeschool
families. An important committee vote will occur tomorrow evening.

The first version of ordinance No. 11-21 allows conviction for
truancy--with no warning--if a child is absent from school without
excuse for as little as one hour. Police and other law enforcement
personnel may see this as the "green light" to stop and question any
young person they see on the street during public school hours. This
could result in homeschooled children becoming afraid to go outside.
This potential intimidation would create a chilling effect on their
constitutional rights. (A prosecution under state law, on the other
hand, would require that warnings first be given.)

The second version is a daytime curfew that prohibits young people
from being present in any public place during the hours their school
is in session. This again sets the stage for law enforcement
personnel to treat any young person on the street during school hours
as a suspect. Even if a child is never charged with a crime, being
stopped and questioned sends a powerful message: you are a suspected
criminal.

ACTION REQUESTED

1. Please contact all the members of the Boone County Board's
Administrative and Legislative Committee before tomorrow evening.
Your message can be as simple as: "Please vote NO on ordinance 11-21.
Both the first and second versions will give the green light for law
enforcers to stop and question any young person they find on the
street. It will tend to make young people afraid to enjoy their
lawful freedom. It could result in harassment, intimidation, and the
violation of civil rights."

Feel free to call other members of the board as well.

CONTACT INFORMATION Boone County Board's Administrative and
Legislative Committee

Tricia Smith
(815) 540-6818

Brad Fidder
(815) 569-2415

Anthony Dini
(815) 520-1251

Catherine Ward
(815) 978-8029

Theresa "Terri" Glass,
(815) 544-3896

BACKGROUND INFORMATION

Public schools take attendance in every class. They know the names
and addresses of every child who appears to be absent without excuse.
An ordinance could be drafted that would direct enforcement only
against those students, and it could be done in a way that would not
make our young people fearful of going outside during the daytime.

You may be told that other towns and counties already have identical
ordinances. That is hardly a good reason to enact the same bad law in
another town or county! If more towns or counties adopt similar
ordinances, the likelihood of homeschoolers being harassed and
intimidated rises. If we want to borrow the ordinance of another town
or county, let's borrow a good one.

There is no doubt that public school truancy is a significant problem;
741,000 public school students were reported as truant in 2008-2009.
That's about one-third of the entire public school enrollment. But
public schools already know the names and addresses of these truants,
and enforcement mechanisms are already in place. There is no
legitimate need to enact ordinances that create an atmosphere that
encourages every young person on the street during school hours to be
treated like a suspected criminal

Sincerely,

Scott Woodruff
HSLDA Senior Counsel

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-> How many of your friends would pay your legal fees?

As a member of HSLDA, you have 80,000 families standing with you
to protect and advance homeschool freedoms in the United States
and foreign countries.

More reasons to join HSLDA...
http://www.hslda.org/elink.asp?id=1106

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