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April 20, 2021 (Home School Legal Defense Association) – HSLDA is asking our members and friends to act on behalf of the small and beleaguered homeschooling community in Portugal. These families are working hard to defend homeschooling freedom in their country, but they face a hostile government and need help from us!

The current ruling party in Portugal is refusing input from homeschoolers and is taking advantage of the current COVID-19 lockdown to advance further restrictions on homeschooling. A vote is planned for Wednesday, April 21, by the current government on the new regulations, which would impose unreasonable restrictions on homeschooling. So far, homeschoolers have been shut out of the debate.

Homeschoolers in Portugal are organizing, and they have support from some of the parties in the National Assembly. But they are desperate for help in the face of the government’s attempts to impose new constraints without allowing hearings or input from the homeschooling community. We can help them by sending a message to Portuguese officials that homeschooling works and should not be subject to unreasonable restrictions. 

The proposed rules require that a parent have a university degree and use the national curriculum in order to homeschool. Also, under the new measures, homeschooled students would have to take the national exam every year and submit to regular, in-person visits by government officials.

Taking a stand

You can help the homeschool community in Portugal by sending an email to members of the various parties, calling on them to respect the rights of families to choose homeschooling without unnecessary government interference. You can also ask lawmakers to respect the democratic process by giving the homeschool community the opportunity to be heard.

Home School Legal Defense Association is working with national leaders in Portugal, including the largest advocacy group for homeschooling: MEL, Movement for Education Liberty. They have asked for our help—please answer their request for support by sending an email today!

As HSLDA founder Michael Farris has said, “if we don’t defend these rights everywhere, we won’t have these rights anywhere!”

It seems like the disdain for homeschool freedom epitomized in Germany is spreading to France, and now to Portugal. This is a trend that we must help stop!

What you can do

Please use the email addresses and text below to send a message using your own email service of choice! It will take only a moment of your time, but your action will send a message to the Portuguese government and the Portuguese homeschooling community!

The emails addresses below are to the speaker of the National Assembly and to the major parties in the Parliament.

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Midwest Bishop and Priest: Petition the city to drop mask charges against home-schooling Mom of 11
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On Halloween 2020, Jane Bernardel, a homeschooling mom of 11, was arrested by police for praying in an empty church after she and her children attended Vespers and recited the Litany of the Saints -- to sanctify a day they see as having been secularized.

After a time of prayer, the pastor of the church, Fr. Gary Ziuraitis, C.Ss.R, approached Mrs. Bernardel and told her that she would have to wear a mask to remain in the church.

But, when Mrs. Bernardel refused, Fr. Ziuraitis called the police and she was arrested. And thereafter, the city of Kansas City, Missouri, brought trespassing charges against Mrs. Bernardel.

Please SIGN and SHARE this urgent petition asking the bishop and the parish priest to petition the city to drop trespassing charges against Mrs. Jane Bernardel for praying in an empty church without a mask.

Mrs. Bernardel fully maintains her innocence and her attorneys are prepared to prove it in court.

But, because of this heavy-handed approach, Mrs. Bernardel now faces charges of trespass which could mean a $300 fine and time spent in a "re-education" class.

This is an excessive and disproportionate response to praying without a mask in an empty church.

And, taking into account the church's and diocese's own guidelines, this is also just plain wrong.

Therefore, the only explanation can be that there is some misunderstanding by the bishop and the pastor of the church as to their own guidelines.

But, their misunderstanding should not legally impinge on this homeschooling Mom, who obviously loves the Church and is seeking to do good.

Please SIGN and SHARE this urgent petition asking the bishop of the diocese, Bishop James Johnston, and the pastor of Our Lady of Perpetual Help, Fr. Gary Ziuraitis, to admit to a big misunderstanding, show clemency, and ask the city to drop the trespassing charges.

After signing and sharing, please take a moment to contact the Diocese of Kansas City-St. Joseph to politely express your hope and desire that Bishop Johnston and Fr. Ziuraitis would urgently petition the city to drop the charges against Mrs. Bernardel.

The contact number for the diocese is: 816-756-1850


'Maskless priest has homeschooling mom of 11 arrested for not masking in church' -

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Send emails (cut and paste the whole string) to: 

[email protected]; [email protected]; [email protected]; [email protected]; [email protected]; [email protected]; [email protected]; [email protected]; [email protected]; [email protected]; [email protected]

Choose a subject line!

Respeite a Liberdade!—Respect Freedom!

Respeite a democracia—ouça as famílias!—Respect Democracy – Listen to Families!

Não vote até ouvir as famílias!—Don’t Vote Until You Hear from Families!

O ensino doméstico funciona—não vote em mais restrições! —Homeschooling Works: Don’t Pass More Restrictions!

Proposed message in Portuguese (English translation below)

Estou a escrever para lhe pedir que não vote em mais restrições às famílias portuguesas que praticam a educação domiciliar até que tenha procurado e recebido sugestões deles e se tenha educado sobre a verdade da educação domiciliar. A educação em casa é um método comprovado de educação que funciona. As famílias que optam por educar em casa não precisam da supervisão do governo para que a educação em casa funcione bem ou para que as crianças estejam seguras. As crianças estão seguras nas famílias e aprendem bem com os pais. Numa época em que as escolas estão fechadas, é inaceitável que qualquer governo imponha mais restrições às opções para os pais – especialmente ao direito dos pais à educação em casa.

O processo democrático exige que você busque a opinião da comunidade antes de regulamentar. Você também deve obter pesquisas baseadas em evidências para apoiar quaisquer restrições que você coloque no direito dos pais e filhos de escolherem livremente a educação em casa. Nos EUA, existem quase 8 milhões de crianças que são educadas em casa. A educação em casa é legal em todos os 50 estados e em muitos estados com apenas notificação exigida. As famílias são livres para escolher o melhor currículo e, na maioria dos estados, nenhuma avaliação é necessária.

Aprendemos ao longo de muitas décadas que os pais escolhem o que é melhor para seus filhos e em que pode confiar. Os países livres respeitam seus cidadãos para tomar essas decisões e não impõem controles desnecessários ou irracionais. Portugal está indo na direção errada e peço que pare o processo de votação até que esteja devidamente informado e peça a opinião da comunidade de educação domiciliar.

Obrigado por ouvir e respeitar a liberdade, as famílias e a democracia.

English translation

I am writing to ask you not to vote on more restrictions on Portuguese families who homeschool until you have sought and received input from them and have educated yourself about the truth of home education. Home education is a proven method of teaching children. Families do not require government oversight for home education to work well or for children to be safe. At a time when schools are closed, it is unacceptable that any government would impose more restrictions on options for parents—especially on the right of parents to home education.

The democratic process demands that you seek input from the community before you regulate. You should also obtain evidence-based research to support any restrictions you place on the parents and children’s right to be free to choose home education. In the USA there are nearly 8 million children who are educated at home. Home education is legal in all 50 states, and many of these only require notification. Families are free to choose the best curriculum, and in most states no assessments are required. 

We have learned over many decades that parents choose what is best for their children and can be trusted. Free countries respect their citizens to make these decisions and do not impose unnecessary or unreasonable controls. Portugal is moving in the wrong direction, and I urge you to stop the vote process until you get properly informed and seek input from the home educating community.

Thank you for listening and respecting freedom, families and democracy.

If you would like to compose your own message you can also use Google Translate to write a personalized email!

Thank you for taking action to support homeschooling freedom!

Michael Donnelly, JD, LLM is an attorney, writer, homeschooling dad, adjunct professor of government, and frequent media spokesperson on homeschooling, freedom, and parental rights.

Published with permission from HSLDA