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South Dakota

April 11, 2007
South Dakota—Legislative Wrap Up

Over the opposition of many homeschool families, the Legislature passed two bills that will have far-reaching consequences.

Effective July 1, 2009, compulsory attendance laws will apply to students until they reach their 18th birthday. Homeschool families will have bureaucratic red tape for two more years—with the constant threat of state intervention—because of this Legislature’s belief that parents should not have the freedom to determine what is best for their 16- and 17-year-olds.

The Legislature also made it much easier for public schools to get extra money by enrolling homeschool students part time. With the creation of this financial incentive, we can expect schools—even schools outside a student’s district of residence—to ramp up efforts to recruit homeschoolers.

Students who receive more than 50% of their instruction from any public school program, including any online program, are not eligible for membership in Home School Legal Defense Association.

Federal courts have ruled that parents have absolutely no voice in what is taught to their children in public school programs. Parents expose their children to unknown influences by putting them in any government school program.

Parents in Palmdale, California, recently learned a bitter lesson about losing control of their children’s education by placing them in public school. They filed suit against the public school system after their children were given a shocking “survey” containing questions of a sexual nature. In rebuffing the parents, the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals said, “....parents have no ... right ... to override the determinations of public schools as to the information to which their children will be exposed while enrolled as students.” 427 F.3d 1197 (9th Cir. 2005).

We have a powerful message full of hope: parents are the best teachers and freedom is worth protecting. We will bring this message with us to the polls at the next state election.

Thank you for making calls this session, and the myriad other efforts you made to protect homeschool freedom.