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September 30, 2014

Commission Recommends Homeschool Restrictions

Senior Counsel Dee Black answers questions and assists members with legal issues in Connecticut. He and his wife homeschooled their children. Read more >>

The Sandy Hook Advisory Commission created by Governor Dannel P. Malloy in response to the murders of 20 children and 6 teachers in Newtown has made preliminary recommendations that threaten the privacy and freedom of homeschooling families. The commission is recommending that homeschool students with emotional or behavioral problems be required to submit an individualized education plan to the local public school district for approval and progress reports thereafter. Parents whose children failed to make “adequate progress” as determined by public school officials would be denied the right to teach their children at home. The initial identification of troubled students could only be accomplished by mandatory mental health screenings performed on all homeschool students.

The commission’s proposal was precipitated by the school shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School by Adam Lanza in December of 2012. But there is simply no basis for the assertion that there is a connection between homeschooling and violence in public schools. The proposal by the commission appears to be a knee-jerk reaction to this tragedy without an examination of the educational history of the perpetrator, Adam Lanza, who was supposedly homeschooled. According to the report released by the Office of the State’s Attorney in November 2013, Lanza was a public school student, except for a brief time in middle school when he attended a private school. Apparently he attended public school on site until around the 10th grade, at which time his mother chose other public school options at home. Lanza graduated and received a diploma from Newtown High School in 2009, an option not available to any student who was homeschooled. The Sandy Hook shooting took place some 3½ years later.

The recommendation made by the governor’s commission is only a draft proposal. Even if it were in final form, none of the recommendations in the report could be implemented without a new law being passed by the Connecticut Legislature, which does not go into session until January 2015.

Home School Legal Defense Association will vigorously oppose any effort to subject homeschool students to mental health screenings and any attempt to deny parents the constitutional right to choose homeschooling as an educational option for their children.

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If you or someone you know is not a member of HSLDA, will you consider taking a moment today to join or recommend us? Your support enables us to defend individual families threatened by government officials and protect homeschooling freedom for all. Join now >>