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June 16, 2015

State Board Goes After Homeschoolers

Mike Donnelly Staff Attorney Mike Donnelly answers questions and assists members regarding legal issues in Michigan. He and his wife homeschool.

Calls for Registration and Monitoring of Children

At its June 9, 2015, meeting, the Michigan State Board of Education voted 5–1 to support Stephanie Chang’s ill-advised legislation (House Bill 4498/Senate Bill 284) that would require homeschooled children to be annually registered with a school and physically inspected twice a year.

Board member Dr. Richard Zeile opposed the proposal, pointing out that everyone else shouldn’t be over-regulated because of one person’s criminal activity—horrific as it was. Zeile was referring to the case of the Detroit mother who murdered her two children and reportedly claimed later that she was homeschooling them.

Favoring Freedom

Chang’s legislation was filed in spite of opposition from Detroit homeschooling families and a pronouncement from Senator Phil Pavlov, chair of the Senate Education Committee, that the bill would not be acted on. Dr. Zeile and fellow board member Eileen Weiser (not present for this vote) have stated they oppose attempts to “limit the freedom of families to choose suitable education for their children.”

HSLDA has observed a continuing trickle of reporting from Michigan and anti-homeschooling media outlets on the Detroit incident, apparently in an attempt to revitalize the issue and to move forward Chang’s ill-fated legislation. Michigan homeschooling families can be thankful for Dr. Zeile, Mrs. Weiser, Senator Pavlov, and other likeminded leaders who understand that parents know their children best and should be free to direct their education without unwarranted government intrusion.

Dealing with Crime

HSLDA condemns the alleged actions of the Detroit mother as well as any form of child abuse. However, the best thing to do when crimes like this are committed is to aggressively prosecute, convict and imprison the perpetrators, rather than use a tragedy for political purposes or as an excuse to impose unnecessary regulation on others.

HSLDA and Michigan state organizations INCH and CTV will continue to track this legislation and update our members on any developments.

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Help Us Defend Homeschooling

Your membership helps HSLDA defend the homeschooling movement and individual families from unwarranted government intrusion. Do you know someone who isn’t a member of HSLDA? Recommend us today or donate to the Homeschool Freedom Fund.