Ohio senator proposes dramatic restrictions on homeschoolers
December 18, 2013 (LifeSiteNews.com) - Senate Bill 248 introduced by Ohio State Senator Capri Cafaro has suddenly become a frontline in the battle over homeschooling freedom. Offered as a response to the tragic death of Teddy Foltz-Tedesco, caused by abuse in January 2013, the bill focuses on imposing dramatic new measures on homeschooling parents.
The bill subjects any prospective homeschooling parent to a wide-ranging social services investigation. Social workers would have to interview parents and children separately, conduct background checks and determine whether homeschooling is recommended or not. If it is not recommended, parents would have to submit to an "intervention" before further consideration of their request to homeschool.
But there is no direct link between Teddy being homeschooled and his abuse. Virtually every news report on the case indicate that neighbors, family, police, public school teachers, and others knew about the abuse for years. HSLDA Attorney for Ohio Member Affairs Michael Donnelly points out the tragic failure of those responsible to protect Teddy from known abuse and said, "SB 248 is pursuing the wrong strategy for addressing underlying problems that led to Teddy's tragic death."
"This bill does not solve the failure of government agents to act in the face of known abuse in this case," Donnelly continued. "Police, teachers and social workers apparently knew Teddy had been abused for years -- why wasn't something done? Instead of focusing on and fixing these failures, Senator Cafaros' misguided bill violates fundamental American values -- parents have a fundamental right to direct their children's education without unwarranted government interference and citizens are presumed innocent until proven guilty."
Donnelly suggests that the bill would further stretch scarce social services resources -- increasing the load on social workers by requiring them to investigate all families who want to homeschool rather than focusing resources on parents actually suspected of child abuse.
HSLDA condemns child abuse and is saddened by Teddy's death. HSLDA supports the prosecution of child abusers like Bush and the improvement of systems that prevent child abuse. SB 248 is however a step in the wrong direction.
HSLDA has requested members contact the bill's sponsors to ask them to withdraw Senate Bill 248. A misguided attack on homeschooling in Ohio may be a precursor to more general attempts to impose similar restrictions in other states.
To learn more go to www.hslda.org/oh and click on the bill page for SB 248.