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“FIRE INSPECTION” BILL THREATENS PRIVATE HOMESCHOOLING IN CALIFORNIA

Bad situations can sometimes result in bad policies. Please pray for protection of godly homeschooling families. Pray that California would find ways to address child neglect and abuse without infringing basic constitutional rights.

Blessed are those who find wisdom, those who gain understanding, for she is more profitable than silver  and yields better returns than gold. (Pr 3:13-14)

In January of this year, a horrific case of child abuse and neglect made waves across the country giving rise to the Fire Inspection bill that could threaten the rights of homeschooling parents. When a seventeen-year-old girl escaped from what has now been deemed ‘a house of horrors’. Upon investigation of the southern California home, it was determined that thirteen siblings, ranging in age from two to twenty-nine, had been tied to their beds with ropes and chains and padlocks as a form of punishment. All, but the two-year-old, were severely malnourished and had very little understanding of the outside world, including who the police were when they came to rescue them. In addition, to the shock and horror of many news outlets, the children were all ‘homeschooled’. The parents, David and Louise Turpin, now face up to forty charges, including torture, false imprisonment, and felony assault.

Although home educating one’s child is a perfectly legal option in the United States, cases like the Turpin’s has caused many to question the safety and efficacy of homeschooling. Many opponents of homeschooling believe there simply isn’t enough oversite. In fact, State Senator Richard Roth is quoted in an article by Sarah Jones in The New Republic as saying, “You know, one of the things that public schools do is they put eyeballs on children,” he added. “Teachers and principals and teacher’s aides are able to determine whether or not there is an issue that needs further investigation. We don’t have that in the homeschool setting.”

According to the Homeschool Legal Defense Association (HSLDA), “this bill directly violates the Fourth Amendment to the Constitution.

As a result, two new bills have been introduced to the California State Assembly. The first, AB 2756, also known to many as the “Fire Inspection Bill”, was introduced on February 16, 2018, by Assembly Members Susan Talamantes Eggman, democrat, Jose Medina, democrat, and Lorena Gonzalez Fletcher, democrat. AB 2756 would allow a government agency the unprecedented access of a private dwelling. Supporters of AB 2756 state that the fire department would send inspectors into the homes of families who home educate to ensure compliance with fire safety regulations. According to Medina, “the state has a responsibility to ensure that each child is in a safe learning environment,” stating that AB 2756 “will provide the oversight needed to protect students and their rights.”

However, according to the Homeschool Legal Defense Association (HSLDA), “this bill directly violates the Fourth Amendment to the Constitution. All citizens’ homes, including private homeschoolers’ homes, are protected by the Fourth Amendment from unlawful entry by state officials. Without a warrant or emergency circumstances, state officials cannot lawfully enter a home without the parent’s consent. Such entry is presumed to be unlawful in all 50 states. Therefore, AB 2756 is unconstitutional on its face.” HSLDA also states that AB 2756 has the potential to completely eradicate homeschooling in California if families are required to meet traditional public-school fire safety guidelines, i.e. fire sprinklers and 4 ft doorways, as many families wouldn’t have the means to convert their homes to these standards.

The second bill, AB 2926, also proposed by Assemblywoman Eggman on February 16, “would require the Superintendent to establish a broadly representative and diverse advisory committee to advise the Superintendent and the State Board of Education on all appropriate matters relative to home schools” including, but not limited to, health and safety inspections, specific curriculum standards and certification or credentialing of teachers. Although, to some, this bill seems reasonable this law is a direct attack on homeschoolers in California. (By Jamie Daggett, SoCal Voice Christian Voice. Reprinted by permission.)

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