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West Virginia

March 13, 2017

Senator Pulls Dangerous Bill Limiting Homeschooling

West Virginia Senate Education Chair Kenneth Mann, sponsor of Senate Bill 528, has said he is pulling the bill from active consideration. The proposed law would have effectively prohibited homeschooling and ordered CPS investigations for parents whose children had accrued 10 unexcused public school absences.

After HSLDA, along with state organizations such as WVHEA and CHEWV sent out message to our networks, Senator Mann heard from hundreds of homeschooling parents who voiced concern about the bill.  On Saturday Mann met with homeschooling parents Kathie Hess Crouse and Amber Perry.  Both are HSLDA members; Crouse is also a board member of WVHEA. 

I spoke with Crouse on Saturday, and she said that Senator Mann spent over an hour listening to the concerns we have all expressed about the bill.

In an official statement posted on Facebook, Senator Mann announced he has “decided to pull this bill from the Education Committee’s agenda, and it will not run.” Mann also said that his intention was not to infringe on a parent’s desire to homeschool.

“I would not do anything to purposely take away anyone’s personal right to educate his or her child as he sees fit,” he writes. Rather, he explains, his intent was to “creat[e] a vetting process” for possible situations in which a “child would be homeschooled in a harmful, drug abusive, and unfit situation.”

As I pointed out in my article last week, West Virginia law already provides a process for ensuring that a child is being given a genuine education through homeschooling.

I discussed this bill, as well as homeschooling in general, with Huntington’s Tom Roten on his morning radio program. You can listen to the 15-minute interview here.

HSLDA commends Senator Mann for recognizing the harms of Senate Bill 528 and withdrawing it.  We hope that this also means that HB 2702, a similar measure sponsored by Delegate Stephen Westfall pending in the House Education Committee, is no longer viable.

Homeschooling families comprise a vibrant educational community, and parents who undertake it are watchful guardians of freedom.  West Virginia is best served by an educational environment where parents are empowered and trusted to make decisions for their children—not state or local education officials.

HSLDA is pleased to be a leading advocacy organization for homeschoolers in West Virginia.  We are also grateful for the support our members as well as the other state level organizations in West Virginia who are making a difference in the fight for freedom.