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November 19, 2012

Capitol Day Event Puts Face on Homeschool Movement

Michael Donnelly, attorney for member affairs in Ohio, meets with an HSLDA member family during the CHEO Homeschool Day at the Capitol in Columbus.

Hundreds of Ohio homeschoolers gathered at the Ohio Statehouse Thursday for a well-organized and encouraging Homeschool Day at the Capitol.

Gathering in the historic Statehouse atrium, Christian Home Educators of Ohio (CHEO) Board Member John Elsey greeted home educators and introduced guests including Lt. Gov. Mary Taylor, Ohio Sen. Keith Faber, president pro-tem of the Senate , Rep. William Batchelder, speaker of the House, Auditor David Yost, Director of Ohio Natural Resources James Zehringer and HSLDA Attorney Michael Donnelly.

In his remarks Speaker Batchelder honored the memory of fallen soldiers including Lt. David Rylander, a West Point graduate and homeschooler from Stow, Ohio. A joint session of the Ohio House of Representatives gathered to honor all of Ohio’s fallen soldiers.

“Family is so important!” said Batchelder. “And you demonstrate that by what you do for your children. I have tremendous respect for homeschoolers and greatly appreciate the homeschoolers in my district and all over Ohio.”

Batchelder said he benefited greatly from the support of homeschoolers in his district in Median County.

Civic Education

CHEO Chairman Wayne Clarke was pleased at the success of the event.

“I am grateful for the speakers and families who have come today,” Clarke said. “This has been a great event, and as far as I know, the first Capitol day CHEO has sponsored in a very long time—if ever. Stephanie Garret, one of our new board members, has done a tremendous job pulling together a great day with superb speakers. This has been a great day of civic education and encouragement for our homeschooling families.”

Donnelly closed out the day’s event by warning homeschoolers that freedom isn’t free and that it demands constant vigilance.

“What you are doing here is so important,” he said. “You are putting a face to our movement. And now is the time to develop relationships with policy makers. There are those who would seek to impose intrusive constraints on our freedoms, and we need to work hard together to advance the cause of home education freedom. If freedom isn’t advancing, it is retreating.”

Willing to Listen

Donnelly also praised Batchelder and the CHEO board.

“Ohio homeschoolers have a tremendous asset with CHEO and HSLDA working very closely together, protecting homeschoolers and advancing freedom. This event is important, and HSLDA is pleased to be a sponsor. We also should recognize the great friend homeschoolers have in the speaker of the house. The speaker has always been positive about home educators and willing to listen to their needs,” Donnelly said.

Garret, who coordinated the event, said she was thrilled.

“We had over five hundred people register for this event,” she remarked “There were many tours of the Capitol, and our families were able to watch their government in action. One of our young homeschoolers even got to open the Senate session by leading the pledge of allegiance. It was a tremendous day, and we are so thankful to all who participated and spoke at our event.”