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6/17/2011 3:00:25 PM
Home School Legal Defense Association
Illinois: Boone County Enacts Daytime Curfew-Truancy Ordinance

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From the HSLDA E-lert Service...
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Dear Members and Friends in Boone County:

By a vote of 7 ayes and 5 nays, the Boone County Board on Wednesday
enacted an ordinance that casts a shadow over the freedom of
homeschool families.

About 6 homeschool families attended the meeting to oppose the
ordinance. I attended and testified against the bill.

I explained that there was no reason to believe the ordinance would
reduce truancy. I presented state data which showed that chronic
truancy actually rose about 73% during the 10 years after the town of
Belvidere enacted its daytime curfew. And I quoted from research
showing that daytime curfews have no impact whatsoever on juvenile
crime.

I pointed out that daytime curfews have spawned several court cases
across the country. I told the board that the US Supreme Court has
said that we are sometimes more endangered by misguided government
efforts to protect us than from crime itself--which is why the 4th
Amendment is so vital in the protection of our liberty.

I emphasized that enforcement will be virtually impossible without
stepping on the rights of citizens. There is no way a police officer
can visually tell the difference between a 16 year old (who would be
subject to the ordinance) and a 17 year old (who would be exempt).
Nor could an officer tell by just looking which young person was a
homeschoolers (and exempt under a last-minute amendment) and which
person was not. This means the innocent as well as the guilty will be
subjected to police interrogation if the ordinance is enforced at all.

The amendment which exempts homeschoolers contains no definition of
"homeschool." And of course no definition exists under Illinois state
law (since a homeschool is already a private school under state law).
I testified that it was irresponsible for the board to exempt
"homeschools" but fail to define them. As adopted the ordinance
applies to "public schools, private schools (except home schools), and
parochial schools."

Being exempted from the ordinance under these circumstances is hardly
cause for cheering. Without a definition, it's difficult to predict
what definition a judge would impose. And even if the exemption had
been well-worded, it would have done nothing to shield our young
people from being stopped at random and interrogated by armed,
uniformed police officers.

Another amendment removed the language from the ordinance which
allowed the school system to begin prosecution by sending a student's
attendance record to the police. This cuts both ways. It helps in
that it significantly reduces the likelihood that a homeschooler will
be summoned into court based on an erroneous public school attendance
record. But it hurts in that it increases the likelihood that the
police will enforce the law by going out and hunting for young people
moving about during the daytime.

The board chairman gave an impassioned speech about how bad it is when
young people must settle for a GED rather than getting a diploma. He
concluded by saying that he believed that this ordinance would push
young people to get diplomas.

He seemed to have entirely disregarded the data from the nearby town
of Belvidere showing that enactment of its ordinance was followed by a
dramatic INCREASE in chronic truancy. His naivete in assuming that if
you just force young people to sit in classrooms until age 17 they
will end up with a diploma casts doubt on his ability to apply facts
to important policy decisons. Any young person can leave school at
age 17--usually the 11th grade--with or without a diploma.

Neither the chairman nor the three school sytem representatives who
spoke in favor of the ordinance made the slightest effort to address
the underlying causes of truancy. That, of course, would have opened
up possible school system failures to examination. Superficial,
ineffective, freedom-hostile band-aids like this ordinance are what
follow when public officials ignore root causes and sputter agaisnt
the symptoms.

Freedom-loving citizens can take ownership of this issue by working
immediately to repeal this ordinance, or removing from office at least
two of the board members who voted in favor. If you are willing to
work for repeal, please contact me.

In the mean time, if one of your children is stopped and questioned,
please contact me immediately. HSLDA attorneys who devote their full
time legal practice to protecting homeschool families will analyze
each situation on its own and give individualized guidance, including
whether a given situation would be apppropriate for litigation.

If you live outside Boone County, find out how to get access to the
agenda of your town or city governmnet so you can quickly help muster
the homeschool community to oppose a proposed daytime curfew.

Thank you for standing with us for freedom!

Scott A. Woodruff, Senior Counsel


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-> Extreme makeovers are for extreme circumstances...

Most homeschools don't need an extreme makeover, but there is
something to be said for attention to detail and recognition of
accomplishments. Watch the media and you'll soon see that not
everyone wants home educators and homeschooling to look good.
HSLDA works hard to shed light on the good work of home educators
so it's obvious that we don't need someone "making-over" our
homeschools. Join HSLDA and help us show the world that we're fine
as we are . . . thank you!

More reasons to join HSLDA...
http://www.hslda.org/elink.asp?id=1943

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