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Officials Overstep Bounds by Passing Bill to Invade the Family
Bill Assigning Government Agent for Every Child outside the Scope of Scottish Powers
Families in Scotland have petitioned the secretary of state to prohibit the passage of the Children and Young People Bill, calling the bill “anti-family” and “illegal.”
“We hope that the secretary of state will refer the bill for determination [legal review by the courts],” stated a spokesperson for Schoolhouse Home Education Association (HEA) in Scotland. “There is precedent for striking down such legislation by invoking Scotland Act powers to prohibit the presiding officer of parliament from submitting a bill for royal assent, which is the final step in becoming law.”
The group also stated that the Christian Institute in Scotland has indicated its intention to mount a legal challenge to the “named person” and non-consensual data-mining provisions of the bill if it is not referred for determination.
Final debate and passage of the bill by vote took place in the Scottish Parliament on February 19. Schoolhouse HEA published an open letter to Secretary of State Alistair Carmichael on the same day, strongly objecting to sections of the bill that would constitute a massive invasion of every home. The “named person” provision assigns a government social worker to “promote, support or safeguard the wellbeing” of every child from birth. The data collection elements permit information to be shared without parents’ “freely given, specific and informed consent when a child is not ‘at risk.’ ”
“This law shows the natural progression for a country that has ratified the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child.”
HSLDA Director for International Relations
HSLDA previously reported on this situation in July 2013 and asked families to support Scottish homeschoolers by submitting written concerns to the parliamentary Education and Culture Committee. HSLDA Director for International Relations Michael Donnelly notes that the bill’s passage indicates members of parliament have dismissed parents’ concerns about its negative impact on families.
“Unfortunately, the situation has only escalated since last summer,” stated Donnelly. “The bad provisions in the Children and Young People Bill still exist, despite the call for evidence issued by the Education and Culture Committee. This law shows the natural progression for a country that has ratified the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC) and attempts to live up to its treaty provisions.”
The Children and Young People Bill is part of a larger government policy initiative in Scotland called “Getting it Right for Every Child” (GIRFEC), a response to the CRC.
“The children and families of Scotland have been sold for GIRFEC gold” by 105 members of the Scottish Parliament, a Schoolhouse HEA representative told HSLDA, “including those who so squealed loudly over ID cards, yet didn’t raise a whimper over the wholesale collection and sharing of every child’s (and associated adult’s) personal data.”
The organization’s open letter explains the duty for the government-assigned named person to “report anything they perceive might affect an individual child’s ‘wellbeing.’ ” Wellbeing is based on indicators such as being “safe, healthy, achieving, nurtured, active, respected, responsible, included” (Section 72 of Part 13).
“With the exception of ‘safe,’ none of the ‘wellbeing’ indicators is of itself an indicator of a child at risk,” explains Schoolhouse HEA. “Therefore, they are not necessary for the state to mandate as thresholds for compulsory involvement in family life by the named person.”
Spreading the Word
“Raising awareness is what is required,” Schoolhouse notes, “in order to shine a light on the illiberal legislation introduced by our representatives who should be upholding the 1320 Declaration of Arbroath—a Scottish document on liberty upon which the American Constitution is said to have been founded.”
Donnelly asks freedom-loving families and individuals around the world to spread the word.
“Schoolhouse HEA as well as other Scottish organizations have been working hard to lobby against the bill,” Donnelly said. “Thank you to everyone who previously contacted the committee to express concerns about the bill and stand with Scottish families. Please help us spread the news about this situation as Scottish homeschoolers have asked.”
Further details are available on the Schoolhouse HEA website.
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