From the HSLDA E-lert Service:
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Date:
From:
Subject:

3/27/2013 2:09:41 PM
Dee Black--HSLDA
Pennsylvania: Bad Bills Threaten Homeschooling Freedom

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From the HSLDA E-lert Service...
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Pennsylvania: Bad Bills Threaten Homeschooling Freedom

Dear HSLDA Members and Friends:

I want to make you aware of two bills filed in the current legislative
session in Pennsylvania which constitute a direct attack on the
freedom of homeschooling families.

First is Senate Bill 32, whose primary sponsor is Senator Andrew
Dinniman (D-Dist. 19). This bill would require school districts to
notify the county children and youth services agency (CYS) whenever a
child was enrolled in a home education program under the following
circumstances: if any child in the household had been the subject of a
founded or indicated report or received general protective services
within the preceding 18 months, or if any parent or other person in
the household had been the subject of any type of report in the
preceding 18 months. Such notification would also be required under
the same circumstances whenever a child was enrolled in a cyber
charter school, was truant, or failed to register for school upon
attaining compulsory attendance age.

Here's the worst part. Upon receiving the notification from the local
school district, CYS would be required to conduct a "safety and risk
assessment" of the family over the next six months. This would be
nothing less than a full social services investigation of the family.
And this would happen even though the family had been fully
investigated previously as the result of the earlier report and
appropriate action taken at that time. In essence, the family would be
investigated again just because they had decided to homeschool their
children.

This investigation would be triggered even in instances where there
had been no judicial determination that the parent or other person in
the home was guilty of any wrongdoing. For example, an "indicated
report" may be based merely on the opinion of investigators without
any due process, i.e. the opportunity of the accused to present
evidence at a hearing. Further, CYS would be obligated to investigate
the family even if an anonymous false report had been made previously
against a parent or someone else in the household. Additionally, if a
child had received "general protective services" within the preceding
18 months, the family would have to be investigated. By its very
definition in the law, the term "general protective services" means
services for nonabuse cases. These scenarios raise serious
constitutional questions about conducting additional investigations of
citizens when there is no reasonable suspicion of illegal activity.

The second bill is Senate Bill 517, whose primary sponsor is Senator
Kim Ward (R-Dist. 39). This bill would amend the existing home
education statute to prohibit the homeschooling of any child who had
been the recipient of child protective services within the last 18
months. This prohibition would be in effect even though a previous
report of abuse had been fully investigated and a determination made
that the home was a safe environment for the child. Further, according
to the language of the bill, the parents or guardians would not be
permitted to homeschool this child even if the child protective
services had been provided while the child resided in a different
household.

No study has ever concluded that the incidence of child abuse is
higher in families who teach their children at home. This is because
there is simply no connection between homeschooling and child abuse.
Senate Bill 32 would trigger the investigation of a homeschooling
family even if the child had previously been reported as abused while
a student in a public or nonpublic school or allegedly had been abused
by someone outside the family. Senate Bill 517 would go so far as to
absolutely prohibit the homeschooling of a child who had received
services under any circumstances.

Both of these bills must be stopped. And the only way we are going to
be able to do so is for legislators to hear from thousands of
Pennsylvania homeschooling families expressing their opposition to
this unwarranted and unfair treatment of home educators. These bills
are now in the Senate Education Committee, but no hearing is scheduled
for them at this time. We will continue to track these bills and keep
you advised of their status. Once a hearing is scheduled, we will ask
you to contact members of the committee. In the meantime, feel free to
contact your state senator and let him or her know about this bill and
your opposition to it.

To find the contact information for your state senator, please go to
http://www.hslda.org/elink.asp?id=17813 .

To view the text of Senate Bill 32, please go to
http://www.hslda.org/elink.asp?id=17814 .

To view the text of Senate Bill 517, please go to
http://www.hslda.org/elink.asp?id=17815 .

In other news, perhaps you've heard of HSLDA's current fight to defend
the German Romeike family from deportation. After the Romeikes faced
fines, losing custody of their children, and the threat of
imprisonment as a homeschooling family in Germany, they moved to the
United States seeking asylum for educational freedom. HSLDA is
currently defending them in the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals. Click
here http://www.hslda.org/elink.asp?id=17816 for more information and
to sign the petition to the White House to stop the deportation of the
Romeikes.

Sincerely,

Dewitt T. Black, III
HSLDA Senior Counsel

P.S. We greatly value you and your support--it is a privilege to serve
you! If you or someone you know is not a member of HSLDA, will you
consider taking a moment today to join or recommend us? Your support
enables us to defend individual families and protect homeschooling
freedom for all. Join now:
http://www.hslda.org/elink.asp?id=17817

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-> Have you ever yelled into the wind, only to hear the sound of your
voice blown back at you?

It's hard to be heard in the midst of a storm. Trying to influence
federal legislation is much like yelling to be heard while
standing in a fierce wind. Yet when 80,000 voices join together,
they become a powerful force that cannot be drowned out.
Join HSLDA to be heard above the tempests that threaten homeschool
freedoms.

More reasons to join HSLDA...
http://www.hslda.org/elink.asp?id=1939

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