August 8, 2012

Candidate for State Senate Apologizes for Homeschool Jab

Scott Woodruff answers questions and assists members regarding legal issues in Kansas. He and his wife homeschooled their children. Read more >>

In the recent race to choose the Republican nominee for state Senate in the 22nd District (Riley and Clay county area), a political action committee (PAC) supporting the incumbent, Roger Reitz, ran an ad against challenger Bob Reader which included the line:

“He [Reader] doesn’t support our local public schools, he homeschools his family.”

On Thursday, August 2, HSLDA Senior Counsel Scott Woodruff asked the Reitz campaign to apologize for the statement, noting that

“ … Homeschool parents faithfully pay thousands of dollars in property taxes to support public schools. They vote in school board elections. Homeschool parents work in public schools across the nation as principals, bus drivers, janitors and board members. More public school teachers homeschool their own children than any other profession. Some homeschool parents even send some of their children to public school, or let a child be publicly schooled for part of his education. Stereotyping homeschoolers as anti-public school indicates that you oppose a parent’s right to choose the education that best serves their children.”

The campaign promptly expressed its regret, disavowed the statement, and issued a conciliatory public apology. PACs operate independently of the candidate they support and create ads without consulting them. However, it is appropriate for a candidate to repudiate, disavow, or apologize for the offensive ad of a PAC that is trying to get him elected.

The claim that Bob Reader’s personal choice for his children’s education showed a lack of support for public schools did not resonate with the voting public. Reader beat Reitz, earning 43% of the ballots to Reitz’ 29%. A third candidate earned 28%.