Posts Tagged ‘parental rights’

Well, it has been a long 6 months but the battle for homeschool freedom in the state of California has ended for now…with success!! After following this case closely since not long after beginning this blog, it is nice to see such a positive culmination of events in this important matter. Below you can read more about this victory for parental rights. Praise the Lord for His obvious hand in this fight!

The following case report can be found at this location:


Here is the text:

A Great Victory for California Homeschoolers

In a unanimous decision, the California Court of Appeal for the Second Appellate District today ruled that California statutes permit home schooling as a species of private school education.

Today’s decision stands in stark contrast to the opinion this same three-judge panel issued in February, which would have made California the only state in the union to outlaw home education had it remained in effect.

It is unusual for an appellate court to grant a petition for rehearing as this court did in March,said HSLDA Chairman Mike Farris,but it is truly remarkable for a court to completely reverse its own earlier opinion. We thank you for your prayers and give God the glory for this great victory.

When the court vacated its earlier decision on March 25, 2008, it invited interested organizations to file friend-of-the-court briefs.I have never seen such an impressive array of people and organizations coming to the defense of homeschooling, said Farris, who was one of the attorneys who argued the case on rehearing along with Alliance Defense Fund attorney, Jeff Shafer who represented the father. The father was also represented by Gary Kreep of the United States Justice Foundation.

California’s three largest homeschool organizations, California Homeschool Network, Homeschool Association of California and Christian Home Education Association joined together in one brief to defend the right of all parents to homeschool. HSLDA, Family Protection Ministries and Focus on the Family also joined in a separate brief. Numerous other private organizations came to the defense of home education as did California’s governor, attorney general, and superintendent of public instruction.

We are extremely grateful to all of the organizations who worked tirelessly to protect and preserve homeschooling freedom in California. We are also thankful for you, our members, for your prayers and support during this trying season.

The freedom to homeschool is a precious gift from God. But keeping it free requires vigilance and perseverance. We must continue to work together diligently to preserve this precious freedom in California and elsewhere.

Below are excerpts from the opinion:

We will conclude that: (1) California statutes permit home schooling as a species of private school education; and (2) the statutory permission to home school may constitutionally be overridden in order to protect the safety of a child who has been declared dependent. [FN1: We use the terms home school and home schooling to refer to full-time education in the home by a parent or guardian who does not necessarily possess a teaching credential.]

Although the Legislature did not amend the statutory scheme so as to expressly permit home schooling, more recent enactments demonstrate an apparent acceptance by the Legislature of the proposition that home schooling is taking place in California, with home schools allowed as private schools. Recent statutes indicate that the Legislature is aware that some parents in California home school their children by declaring their homes to be private schools. Moreover, several statutory enactments indicate a legislative approval of home schooling, by exempting home schools from requirements otherwise applicable to private schools.

While the Legislature has never acted to expressly supersede Turner and Shinn, it has acted as though home schooling is, in fact, permitted in California.

While the legislative history of Education Code section 44237 is somewhat complicated, it confirms this interpretation, and also reflects the Legislature’s apparent intent to accommodate home schooling parents.

The most logical interpretation of subsequent legislative enactments and regulatory provisions supports the conclusion that a home school can, in fact, fall within the private school exception to the general compulsory education law.

We therefore conclude that home schools may constitute private schools.

While the interpretation of the private school exemption is ultimately an issue for the courts, we find it significant that education and enforcement officials at both the state and local levels agree that home schools may constitute private schools.

In short, the rule of Turner and Shinn has been discounted as a doctrinal anachronism, and clinging to such precedent would undermine a practice that has been, if not actively encouraged, at least acknowledged and accepted by officials and the public for many years.

Another news story regarding this issue can be found here:


The article follows:

Parents may home-school children without teaching credential, California court says

Gov. Schwarzenegger praises the reversal by the 2nd District Court of Appeal as a victory for students and parental rights.

By Seema Mehta, Los Angeles Times Staff Writer
August 9, 2008

Parents may legally home-school their children in California even if they lack a teaching credential, a state appellate court ruled Friday. The decision is a reversal of the court’s earlier position, which effectively prohibited most home schooling and sparked fear throughout the state’s estimated 166,000 home-schoolers.

Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, who had vowed to allow home schooling through legislation if the court did not act, praised the ruling. 
“This is a victory for California’s students, parents and education community. This decision confirms the right every California child has to a quality education and the right parents have to decide what is best for their children,” he said. “I hope the ruling settles this matter for parents and home-schooled children once and for all in California, but assure them that we, as elected officials, will continue to defend parents’ rights.”

In February, the 2nd District Court of Appeal ruled in a child protection hearing that parents must have a teaching credential to home-school their children. The decision caused a nationwide uproar among home-schoolers, religious activists and others, and the court agreed to reconsider its decision, a move described as unusual but not unprecedented.

The issue arose in part because California’s laws do not specifically address home schooling, unlike those of at least 30 other states.
Friday’s ruling essentially upheld the position of the state Department of Education and state Supt. of Public Instruction Jack O’Connell, who have traditionally allowed home schooling as long as parents file paperwork with the state establishing themselves as private schools, hire credentialed tutors or enroll their children in independent study programs run by charter or private schools or public school districts.

“As head of California’s public school system, it would be my wish that all children attend public school, but I understand that a traditional public school environment may not be the right setting for each and every child,” he said. “I recognize and understand the consternation that the earlier court ruling caused for many parents and associations involved in home schooling. It is my hope that today’s ruling will allay many of those fears and resolve much of the confusion.”

The court also said that the right of parents to home-school their children can be overridden if a child is in danger.

Home-schooling families celebrated the ruling.

“We’re ecstatic, happy and thrilled,” said Loren Gould of Westchester, who teaches her son, Logan, 7, at home. “He gets to keep his love of learning alive. . . . The world is his classroom.”

The case stemmed from the Long family of Lynwood, who were accused of mistreating some of their eight children. All of the children are or had been enrolled at Sunland Christian School, where they would occasionally take tests, but they were taught in their home by their mother.

Lawyers appointed to represent the two youngest children had asked the court to require them to attend a public or private school full time so adults could monitor their well-being. The family court declined, but the children’s lawyers appealed.

The 2nd District Court of Appeal ruled in February that Sunland officials’ occasional monitoring of the Longs’ methods of teaching were insufficient to qualify as being enrolled in a private school. Because Mary Long does not have a teaching credential, the family violated state laws, the ruling said.

The Longs, the Sunland school and others appealed, and the appellate panel agreed to revisit the ruling. That panel heard arguments in June at a freewheeling hearing attended by at least 45 attorneys representing disparate groups. Democratic and Republican politicians, religious and secular home-schoolers, and liberal and conservative legal scholars all weighed in, saying the court had erred.

Phillip Long, who has said the family chose to home-school the children because of their strong Christian beliefs, said Friday that he doesn’t believe the court was swayed by the legal arguments.

“Only one thing swayed this court — politics,” he said. “This court was under pressure. . . . They did it to protect themselves and their reputation. Those judges want to be Supreme Court judges, they want to move up. They’re not going to do anything to upset their careers.”

Though the appellate court upheld the right of parents to home-school, it did direct the family court to revisit whether the Longs should be allowed to continue to home-school their children.

It’s unclear what will happen, because in July the family court terminated its jurisdiction over the family’s children, though the children’s lawyers are appealing that decision. Long is confident he will prevail.

“Educating your children in your own home preexisted these buffoons that sit on the 2nd Circuit,” he said. “It preexisted this state. It preexisted us. Parents have been teaching their own children since the beginning.”

California does little to enforce the education department’s provisions and insists that doing so is the local school districts’ responsibility.

In addition, state education officials say some parents home-school their children without the knowledge of any entity, making them virtually impossible to locate.

Home-schoolers and government officials have largely accepted this murky arrangement, but the court faulted the Legislature for failing to clarify the rules.

“It is important to recognize that it is not for us to consider, as a matter of policy, whether home schooling should be permitted in California. That job is for the Legislature. It is not the duty of the courts to make the law; we endeavor to interpret it,” Justice H. Walter Croskey wrote in a ruling signed by the two other members of the panel. “Our first task, interpreting the law of California, is made more difficult in this case by legislative inaction.”

To that end, the court said additional requirements for home-schoolers in other states such as standardized testing or home visits should be considered by the California Legislature.

“Given the state’s compelling interest in educating all of its children . . . and the absence of an express statutory and regulatory framework for home schooling in California, additional clarity in this area of the law would be helpful,” according to the ruling.

Statements such as those irked some home-school organizations that are weary of regulation, but were supported by constitutional scholar Erwin Chemerinsky, the dean of UC Irvine’s law school, who urged the court to overturn its initial ruling that banned most home schooling.

“I believe it’s the right of parents, if they chose, to be able to home-school their children. That’s absolutely their right,” he said. But “the state has an important interest [in] making sure all children are adequately educated.”


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Here is the latest update regarding the important legal case regarding home education in the state of California. It is an encouraging step towards a hopefully positive outcome for parental rights and homeschooling rights in our nation.

The source for this article is located here:


Read more below:

Favorable Development in the California Homeschooling Case

Dear HSLDA Members and Friends:
Thank you for your continued prayers for the California homeschooling case, In re Rachel L. Last night, Mr. L’s attorney in the juvenile court reported to Home School Legal Defense Association that the juvenile court judge terminated jurisdiction over the two youngest L children in a hearing held on July 10, 2008. Mr. L is represented by Gary Kreep, who is the director of the California-based United States Justice Foundation, which has long been a close ally of HSLDA and homeschoolers in California.

Two years ago, the children’s court-appointed lawyers had asked that the two children be ordered to attend a school outside the home. That request became the basis for the court’s February ruling that homeschooling is illegal in California. The appellate court later vacated its own decision and set the case for rehearing. Oral argument on the rehearing was held on June 23, 2008 and a decision could be handed down at any time.

Mr. L’s appellate attorneys with the Alliance Defense Fund will be making the appellate court aware of this new development immediately. They will move to dismiss the petition pending in the court of appeal on the ground that the petition is now moot. In other words, the children are no longer under the jurisdiction of the juvenile court. Therefore, any decision by the appellate court based on the two-year-old petition could not be enforced against the L children.

“This is a significant favorable development toward preserving homeschooling freedom in California,” said Mike Farris, Chairman and Founder of HSLDA.

Keep praying!


J. Michael Smith
HSLDA President

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If you are a regular reader here, than you know that I have been following the court case regarding home education freedom in California very closely. We are still awaiting a ruling in this case, but I thought it might be nice to post an entry showing a more personal side to this legal battle, some comments from the Homeschool Association of California.

The source for this article can be found here:


The story continues below:

Rehearing in homeschooling case

On Monday, June 23, the Court of Appeal in Los Angeles held oral arguments for the rehearing in the In re Rachel L homeschooling/abuse case in California. I flew down for it along with HSC’s lawyers from Wilson, Sonsini, Goodrich & Rosati. Elizabeth Bryant, HSC’s legal co-chair, did all the driving in crazy LA traffic, and Leslie Buchanan, HSC’s president, came to listen. Karen Taylor of CHN was there, as was CHN’s counsel (who’s really an HSC legal volunteer, Jerry Salcido). CHEA’s representative couldn’t come, but their counsel was there. HSLDA came as did the man who worked with me on the brief about the history and efficacy of homeschooling that was filed on behalf of several schools, advocacy groups and businesses such as AtoZHomescool and Diane Flynn Keith. There was a reporter there from the LA Times, but very few people who looked like regular members of the public (security was VERY tight). The court did not permit any TV cameras to show up.

The arguments were long (two and a half hours in a hot courtroom) and thorough. The judges asked lots of questions, with some consistent themes. As soon as you thought you had one judge pegged as to how he or she was thinking, he or she would ask another question that made you wonder about your prior conclusion. They were reasonably generous about letting people finish their presentations or points even if they ran over a little on time.

Some of the attorneys presenting made wonderful arguments that we loved. Others were potentially damaging. Most of the folks on our side did a really good job. One woman from Munger Tolles, who represented CHEA in our joint brief, made a presentation on behalf of all three groups and did very well.

It is absolutely impossible to predict how the court will rule on this — whether it will be narrow, sweeping, or something entirely different, and we don’t want to feed any rumor mill. It’s just too hard to read those tea leaves, although I am sure some people will try.

They have 90 days to do something, which means we should expect a ruling by late September. All three of the big groups will, of course, coordinate to make sure we give consistent advice about how to homeschool come fall, and will work together after the ruling comes out should any change in advice be necessary. If the ruling goes against us, our pro bono firms have assured us that they’re in it for the long haul and will be with us every step of the way.

As before, we encourage everyone to keep on doing what they’ve been doing, to keep showing the world a positive image of homeschooling, to educate their friends and neighbors about homeschooling, and to stay informed.

If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to write me.

Debbie Schwarzer HSC Legal Co-Chair

This is a companion post to my continuing series regarding this matter. You can read the previous entries by following the links supplied below:











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The landmark case to decide whether home education in California is legal or illegal, has taken another turn. Oral arguments have been heard, and we are waiting on a ruling to determine whether parental rights will be upheld, or be threatened. This case has the potential to set a nation-wide precedent for homeschooling freedoms. The possible aftershocks that could result if home education is, in effect, ruled illegal, are widespread, so we must follow this closely.

I urge you not to take the  “I’m glad that it is THERE, and not HERE” attitude. Do not allow yourself to slip into complacency merely because this is not as much “big” news, as it was back in March. Know this. Whichever way the ruling goes will have an impact upon the homeschooling community at large, and we must remain watchful that it does not damage the rights we now have, that were won at a large cost to many families. You can read more below.

The source for this article can be found at the following location:


The update follows below:

 Homeschool advocates fight for parental rights
Oral arguments heard to decide fate of California educational choice

Posted: June 23, 2008
10:12 pm Eastern

© 2008 WorldNetDaily

Oral arguments were heard today in the 2nd District Court of Appeal in Los Angeles, with the fate of homeschooling in California at stake.

As WND reported earlier, the court’s decision four months ago to compel two homeschooled children to attend a public or qualifying private school effectively stated that parents held neither a statutory right nor a constitutional right to provide homeschooling for their own children.

After much public and political outcry, the appeal court agreed to revisit its prior ruling.

Michael Farris, chairman and co-founder of the Homeschooling Legal Defense Association, was one of many attorneys from several organizations urging the court to reconsider, and he presented the day’s final argument.

“Anybody that claims they know which way the court will decide would be wrong,” Farris told WND.

“The judges asked very hard, pointed questions,” he said. “There was no indication that they thought their prior ruling was wrong.”

Specifically, Farris said, the judges asked why they should permit homeschooling when California changed the law to withdraw it from the statutes in the early 1900s.

Attorneys advocating homeschooling argued that when California in 1967 added the singular word “person” to the list of those that can operate a legitimate private school, it opened the door for homeschooling. “If a person can provide education, if one person can operate a school,” argued the attorneys, “then why not a parent?”

“Their questions were about the 1910s; our answer was from the 1960s,” Farris told WND.

Furthermore, said Farris, “I argued that the California constitution requires the state to encourage all education. It’s the court’s duty, rather than banning education, to encourage it.”

He also urged the judges to take into account the thousands of people who have implied from the 1967 law that homeschooling is permissible “and not willy-nilly overturn that practice.”

An estimated 166,000 children are being homeschooled in California, and their parents and advocates have expressed concern that the court’s original ruling would leave parents who educate their children at home open to criminal truancy charges and civil charges for child neglect.

Some grounds for that concern may come from the appeal court’s first ruling, where it said the trial court had found that “keeping the children at home deprived them of situations where (1) they could interact with people outside the family, (2) there are people who could provide help if something is amiss in the children’s lives, and (3) they could develop emotionally in a broader world than the parents’ ‘cloistered’ setting.”

Brad Dacus, president of Pacific Justice Institute, a parental rights advocacy organization involved in the case, told WND earlier, “We are looking forward to this opportunity to defend the thousands of families who are making sacrifices to teach their children at home. The state should be applauding, not threatening, these families,” he said.

Though he expressed concern over which way the judges would decide, Farris told WND, “We hope that the court reverses its decision and restores homeschool freedom to California.”

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Things have been quiet for a while regarding the home education situation in California following the major uproar that occured in March. However, things are still happening behind the scenes and it is important that we stay informed and on top of things. Even if California feels far from home for you, please remember that it does not take much to create precedent, and what happens elsewhere can easily and quickly affect all of us wherever we are. So we do well to stay in touch with the current climate towards homeschooling and parental rights.  Here is the most recent update regarding this matter.

You can find the source for this information at the following location:


The article follows below:

Gov. Arnold: Let homeschooling continue
‘State provides a broad statutory basis for education by parents in California’

Posted: May 20, 2008
10:16 pm Eastern

By Bob Unruh
© 2008 WorldNetDaily

Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger

California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger and other officials have told an appeals court there’s no need to dig into state constitutional issues regarding homeschooling since state laws already provide for that choice for parents.

The recommendations come in an amicus brief from California Attorney General Edmund G. Brown Jr. and others on behalf of the state and its governor.

A ruling from the Court of Appeal in the 2nd District, Division 3 in a dispute stemming from a juvenile case earlier had declared that the state constitution provided no right for parents to school their children at home, threatening the education choice for hundreds of thousands of families across the state.

WND broke the story in February when that ruling was released, but it later simply was dropped when the same panel of judges agreed to rehear the case.

The panel, in announcing the rehearing, invited several interested parties to submit amicus briefs of the question of the constitutionality of homeschooling in California, including the state and its education department as well as several teachers’ unions.

Now the brief from Brown and Schwarzenegger said the court doesn’t have to work that hard to make a decision.

“Here, this court need not reach any constitutional issues because this petition can be decided entirely on statutory grounds,” the brief said. “The Education Code provides a broad statutory basis for homeschooling in California, setting forth three different avenues through which parents may legally homeschool their children.”

The brief said the trial court in the case at hand “addressed only the constitutional issues, it never considered the preliminary question of whether the parents had met the statutory requirements for homeschooling under the Education Act.”

“Accordingly, this court should remand to the trial court for proper consideration of that question in the first instance, and the constitutional issues should not be decided until such time that a resolution is ‘absolutely required … to dispose of the matter,'” the recommendation said.

“The governor’s brief supports the right of California parents to teach their children at home,” stated the governor’s press secretary, Aaron McLear. “It explains how the California Education Code already provides for homeschooling and urges the court to recognize and affirm this important right.”

An earlier amicus brief had been filed by the Pacific Justice Institute on behalf of Sunland Christian Academy, the private school that offers the independent program in which the family’s children were enrolled.

The father in the case is represented separately by the United States Justice Foundation and the Alliance Defense Fund, which have been working on the case’s main arguments to the court. Since the case originated with a juvenile court proceeding, some of the arguments and briefs have remained confidential, because of the standard for handling juvenile proceedings. Other briefs have been released publicly.

“The Fifth, Ninth and Fourteenth Amendments to the United States Constitution, as well as Article 1, [paragraphs] 1 and 7, of the California Constitution, protect the fundamental due process and privacy liberties of Californians,” according to the Pacific Justice brief, which cited court cases addressing the right to marry, establish a home and bring up children, the right for parents to educate children as they choose, the “private realm of family life,” and others.

“The areas represent ‘a realm of personal liberty’ which the government may not enter,” said the filing.

The governor’s brief said the state provides options for students to be schooled at home with a licensed tutor or through a school independent study program. The third option is for parents, who are “persons capable of teaching” and have met the state records requirements, to teach their children at home.

The original opinion, later dropped, was written by Appeals Court Judge H. Walt Croskey and said: “We find no reason to strike down the Legislature’s evaluation of what constitutes an adequate education scheme sufficient to promote the ‘general diffusion of knowledge and intelligence. … We agree … ‘the educational program of the State of California was designed to promote the general welfare of all the people and was not designed to accommodate the personal ideas of any individual in the field of education.'”

Homeschool advocates immediately expressed concern the original ruling would leave parents who educate their children at home liable criminally as well as open to civil charges for child neglect that could create the potential for fines, court-ordered counseling or even loss of custody.

Also filing an amicus brief – this one on behalf of members of Congress – is Liberty Counsel.

The brief provides an overview of home education laws in all 50 states and the District of Columbia, and notes that as early as 1925, the U.S. Supreme Court recognized the rights of parents to direct the education of their children.

“The fundamental theory of liberty upon which all governments in this Union repose excludes any general power of the state to standardize its children by forcing them to accept instruction from public teachers only,” the high court said.

Oral arguments are scheduled in June.

The original opinion arose from a dependency case brought in juvenile court. In the process, attorneys assigned by the court to the family’s two younger children sought a court order for them to be enrolled in a public or qualifying private school.

The district court denied the request citing parental rights, but the appellate court overturned the decision and granted the attorneys’ request. The appeals court concluded the parents held neither a statutory right nor a constitutional right to provide homeschooling to their own children.




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Well, it is that time of year again. It is the season for homeschool conventions. In fact, our local conference is this coming weekend for our state. If you are from Indiana or a surrounding area and would like more information than you can go here to get it: http://www.inhomeeducators.org/events/conference .

I love going to the convention every year, there is so much to learn, and it is nice to have a day or two to share with like-minded people, very refreshing. Since, I am a second-generation home educator, I have been to many of these events, both as a student, and now as the teacher of my own children. As a result, I have learned a lot, mostly through good old-fashioned trial and error. So, I would like to share a few tips with you to make your convention experience as useful and enjoyable as it can be.

  • Please don’t worry about attending EVERY single workshop/speaking session. Yes, you paid your hard-earned money for the privilege to attend your conference. But if you need to take a break to process information, rest, or make decisions, it is okay. You will get so much more out of your day, if you take a reasonable pace. Prioritize your schedule and go from there.
  • Be sure to balance what you view as “needed” workshops, with a dose of “encouragement” ones. For instance, you may have a special needs child. By all means, take advantage of sessions that address specific concern issues for your family. But make sure you throw in some sessions that speak to YOUR needs as well. If you see something that speaks to blessing your homeschool vision than sign yourself up! Your cup needs to be filled too, and trust me your children will benefit as a result.
  • Have an idea of what you want/need if you will be shopping in an exhibit hall while you are there. I don’t think you need a list of absolute specifics that you cannot deviate from, but a general list of ideas will help to keep you focused among the sea of curriculum and learning manipulatives. There are so many wonderful educational resources out there these days, and when you are surrounded by a large sampling of them in a giant room, it can be over-whelming. But having a note that says remember to check out math curriculum , or we really need more readers can help a lot. Feel free to browse at your leisure when your priorities are taken care of. Many gems can be found while you are taking it easy, perusing the tables!
  • One thing I do is make a preliminary run through the exhibit hall, a fast glance at each vendor table to see what interests me. I take quick notes, to help me remember where I want to come back to and take a closer look. This helps to narrow things down a lot, and I am less likely to lose focus. Our convention prints a map/key of the exhibits and I just jot down a few words or mark on each corresponding spot so it is easy to find again amidst the crowd. I got this idea from my husband who is so helpful and efficient. Thanks, honey!
  • Remember to take time to thank the Lord for the beautiful family he has given to you, and for the freedoms we have to homeschool our children. You will reap so much from your choice to protect your children physically, spiritually, emotionally, and educationally. What an investment in the lives God has given to us to care for!
  • Finally, I think this one is important. Enjoy yourself! Please? I know that choosing and purchasing curriculum is serious business. But it can be fun, if you try and do a little preparation work and research beforehand. After all, you are educating your children. This process should be exciting and invigorating. You are shaping their lives, and they will love you for the commitment you have made to them. I am fortunate enough to be able to have my husband come with me to our convention every year. We treat it like a date day, spending time together sharing plans for our family, and enjoying a meal or two out together. If this is not possible for you, than perhaps you can bring a friend. Or make a new friend. But by all means, enjoy your time. Let your spirit be renewed for another relationship-building year with your children!

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It is becoming more and more clear that you cannot have it both ways. What do I mean by that? Well, if you wish to exert some kind of influence over what your children learn, when they learn it, how they learn it, or if they learn it, than you are going to have to bring them home and educate them yourself. Because traditional schools, particularly public schools, are going to teach what they want, when they want, in the way they want to, whether you like it or not. You may not believe me. You may think that as long as you remain involved in your child’s school program that you exercise some level of  control. But trust me, your parental rights are being stripped away quickly and assuredly. Here is an example of where we are headed.

You can find this article here:


The article is below:


Superintendent’s orders
to worried dad: Butt out!
Elementary lessons on ‘gay’ issues
now tied to reading, social studies

Posted: April 04, 2008
5:38 pm Eastern

By Bob Unruh
© 2008 WorldNetDaily

The superintendent of a public school that sparked a federal lawsuit by teaching homosexuality to children as young as kindergarten has told another worried parent he can review course material, but he has no right to withdraw his child from class during lessons.

The lawsuit, on which WND has reported extensively, was filed by David Parker, whose child was in a class at Estabrook Elementary in  Lexington, Mass.

Parker’s strenuous objection to not being notified when lessons concerning homosexuality were presented landed him in jail overnight. His subsequent lawsuit resulted in a court verdict that essentially concludes parents have no rights to control what their children are taught.

The court ruling adopted the arguments submitted by several pro-homosexual organizations that stated they had rights to children in public schools. However, Parker has confirmed for WND the case is being prepared for appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court because of the far-reaching impacts of the ruling.

Unless the case is overturned, Parker told WND, “it now would allow teachers in elementary schools to influence children into any views they wanted to, behind the backs of parents, to a captive audience, and against the will of the parents if need be.”

In the latest confrontation, publicized by the traditional values advocates at Mass Resistance, Lexington Supt. Paul Ash told a parent who also wanted to be advised when homosexuality was being taught to children that the school would not cooperate.

“We are not required to inform parents in advance of teaching units that include same gender parents or required to release students when such topics are discussed,” Ash told the parent in an e-mail posted by Mass Resistance. “The appeals court dismissed the claim that parents have a right to require the school provide advance notice or the right to remove their children.

“In addition, the school committee has decided that teachers must be able to teach topics they feel are appropriate without the requirement parents be notified in advance,” Ash wrote.

The e-mail was in response to parent Shawn Landon’s request to be notified when such material would be promoted. His concerns, in return, followed an announcement from the school that it was “creating an inclusive environment and embracing diversity” by expanding its promotions of such alternative lifestyles.

“A group of administrators, teachers, and community members formed the ‘Windows and Mirrors’ subcommittee to develop a comprehensive, inclusive K-5 Diversity curriculum … [which] promotes acceptance and understanding of the diversity of our town, country, and world, and includes both historical lessons on civil rights and contemporary lessons of families,” Ash had announced.

Those “contemporary lessons of families,” Ash continued, will include a focus on “gay and lesbian parents.”

Landon, after getting word of the school’s plans, wrote Martha Batten, Estabrook principal, “I will absolutely require prior notification to any discussion, education, training, reading or anything at all related (even remotely) to homosexuality. It is quite clear by the e-mail I just received that you have a very specific agenda and my family will be exercising our rights to be notified and not to participate. This goes against everything we believe and practice…”

Batten forwarded the e-mail to Ash, who responded that the court’s have “established Lexington’s right” to teach diversity units, including stories that show same gender parents. He also said there’s no need for the schools to let parents know, or even to permit parents to withdraw their children if they would somehow happen to find out.

He did offer a solution: Landon could review the material ahead of time, so he would know what indoctrination would be presented at some later point.

“If your child happens to be placed in a class with a teacher who will be teaching the four of five diversity units, you will then know what will be taught and will be able to talk to your son or daughter about the topics at home,” the superintendent said.

Landon responded with his “disappointment.”

“Your complete rejection of my basic rights as a parent is nothing less than outrageous and discriminatory,” he said. “It is entirely unacceptable. I must insist that I be notified prior to my child being exposed to this horribly offensive material.”

“Good for you, Mr. Landon!” officials at Mass Resistance posted. “It’s about time more people stood up and were counted. It’s actually amazing and outrageous that people like Paul Ash … are allowed to be educators… What kind of human beings would do this to parents and children?”

Parker and his lawyers say they will be seeking permission to submit the dispute to the U.S. Supreme Court over such indoctrination.

Parker said the ruling from the 1st Circuit Court of Appeals essentially concluded that it is no burden on parents’ free exercise of religion to have their children taught ideas at a public school that violate the parents’ religious teachings.

“But that ignores the fact that the most basic free exercise is your teaching your children right from wrong in their formative years,” he said. “That is completely being undermined by the rulings of these federal courts so far.

“Teachers are being postured to have a constitutional right to coercively indoctrinate little children [into whatever they choose to teach,]” he said. “It’s not just exposure to an idea, to the [offensive] books, It’s the teacher’s manipulating the mind of children to embrace dangerous ideologies, because the teacher happens to believe it’s a good ideology.

“It brings these battlegrounds to the psyches and minds of little children,” Parker said. “Their little minds should not be the battleground for culture wars.

“Proper boundaries have to be established. This is absolutely of national significance. No parent wants to put their very little children in positions in which they’re minds are being used as battlegrounds,” he said.

He warned pursuit of such agendas would cause public schools to implode. That’s an issue that California already is facing, as WND has reported. There, a coalition of organizations is encouraging parents and providing resources for them to be able to remove their children from public schools. The coalition’s goal is to take 600,000 children from California’s public districts, because of a new state law there requiring indoctrination that not only is pro-homosexual, but also affirms bisexuality, transsexuality and other alternative lifestyle choices.

“The human secularist religion of the [National Education Association,] buttressed by the power of the state, will now turn public schools into the next secular synagogues,” Parker said. “[They say], ‘We’re just preparing the kids to be citizens.’ But it’s a religion. It is a devious and evil form of religion.”

The 1st U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that the Lexington, Mass., school district can teach children contrary ideas without violating their parents’ rights to exercise religious beliefs.

“Public schools,” opined Judge Sandra L. Lynch, “are not obliged to shield individual students from ideas which potentially are religiously offensive, particularly when the school imposes no requirement that the student agree with or affirm those ideas, or even participate in discussions about them.”

As WND reported in 2006, U.S. District Judge Mark L. Wolf originally dismissed the civil rights lawsuit, concluding there is, in fact, an obligation for public schools to teach young children to accept and endorse homosexuality.

Parker said if this topic is approved, why not any other topic, up to and including Nazism?

The Parker dispute began in the spring of 2005 when the Parkers then-5-year-old son brought home a book to be shared with his parents titled, “Who’s in a Family?” It came in a “Diversity Book Bag” and depicted at least two households led by homosexual partners.

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I have posted regarding the story of librarian Brenda Biesterfeld before. She was fired from her position at the Tulare County Library for reporting a man to police who was viewing child pornography on a library computer. Now it would seem that Biesterfeld’s personnel records were changed after her dismissal to make it appear that her job loss was legitimate. It is sickening that one can be treated in such a way just for attempting to protect children and do what is right. Links to my other posts about this matter can be found here:


and here:

The source for this most recent development is located here:


The article follows:

Records changed after librarian reported porn
‘The county actions in firing Brenda Biesterfeld are inexcusable’

Posted: April 03, 2008
11:15 pm Eastern

By Bob Unruh
© 2008 WorldNetDaily

Brenda Biesterfeld

Personnel records used to justify the dismissal of a librarian who reported to police a man viewing child pornography on a public computer were changed after her dismissal, according to a law firm working on behalf of Brenda Biesterfield.

That, however, hasn’t stopped the county from justifying its actions and citing the changed records.

“The actions of Tulare County officials in firing Brenda Biesterfeld are simply inexcusable,” said Mathew D. Staver, founder of Liberty Counsel and dean of Liberty University’s school of law.

“She should be reinstated and compensated for the injustice done to her,” he said. “The Tulare County Library ought to adopt clear policies informing their staff of the duty to report child pornography to police authorities. Just as taking crack in a library cubicle is illegal and must be reported, even more so should child pornography be reported. It is an unspeakable crime against children.”

WND reported Biesterfeld was dismissed from her position as a librarian in California without explanation two days after police found a library customer allegedly viewing illegal child pornography on a library computer. They had been alerted by Biesterfeld.

The county later wrote to Liberty Counsel’s Stephen M. Crampton in response to his letter protesting the dismissal and demanding her reinstatement. The county reported an internal review by its administrative office “led to the conclusion that Ms. Biesterfeld was terminated for legitimate business reasons and not because of any report she made to the Lindsay Police Department…”

However, county officials cited “confidentiality laws” that prevented them from disclosing the reasons. So Liberty Counsel obtained copies of Beisterfeld’s personnel files, redacted private information, and posted them on the organization’s website.

The files demonstrate “she was indeed fired for reporting to police that a patron, Donny Lynn Chrisler, was viewing child pornography on a library computer,” the law firm said.

Liberty Counsel said a performance evaluation given Jan. 15 by Judy Hill, the supervisor who fired Biesterfeld, stated she was performing satisfactorily. As the sole employee at the Lindsay branch, she was entrusted with managing the entire branch library, the firm noted.

“The evaluation also mentioned additional training that was coming up in March and stated: ‘In April 2008, the ‘new’ Lindsay Branch Library will be completed. When it gets closer to the date of completion we will go over the move and floor plan,'” Liberty Counsel quoted.

“On Feb. 21, Biesterfeld was visited by the entire management of the Tulare County library system, all of whom reiterated that Biesterfeld would very soon assume responsibilities for this brand new facility. A few days after that visit, Biesterfeld was asked what color bookends she wished for the new facility,” Liberty Counsel said.

But when the pornography case suspect was arrested, Hill “was upset and demanded from police the name of the person who reported him. Hill terminated Biesterfeld two days after the arrest, when Hill learned it was Biesterfeld who called police,” the law firm said.

After the dismissal, Hill then placed “new items” in Biesterfeld’s personnel filed without telling Biesterfeld, a violation of county library policies that require employees be notified and given an opportunity to respond, the organization reported.

“The new information placed in her file after the termination discusses minor issues regarding shelving books. Even this new, after-the-fact information fails to justify the wrongful termination of Biesterfeld,” Liberty Counsel said.

“The fact is that Judy Hill sought to ignore the serious crime committed in the library when Chrisler viewed child pornography,” the law firm said. “She was allegedly concerned more about Chrisler having a right to view child pornography. In fact, there is no right to view child pornography, even in the privacy of the home, let alone a public library.”

Staver told WND Biesterfield – or any librarian – really had no choice in the matter and that most states have similar laws requiring those in a position of trust, such as teachers or pastors, to report any suspicion of child abuse, which could include child pornography.

He said the laws he’s reviewing don’t specifically mention librarians but do include adults who work with children.

“It could apply to a librarian; they have children coming into their facilities. They have a duty, obviously,” he said.

Staver said anyone who would refuse to report such activities possibly could be cited, should a prosecutor decide to take on such a case.

The county also, however, volunteered to let the issue go to mediation to reach a resolution.

“The board has arranged for an independent investigation to be performed by retired Superior Court Judge Kenneth Conn … In an attempt to address your concerns and resolve this matter as expeditiously as possible, the board is willing to participate in mediation before Judge Conn,” said the letter from attorney Michael Woods on behalf of the county’s managing board.

Conn already had been requested to investigate and report to the county, the letter said.

“Following consideration of Judge Conn’s findings the board will respond to your demand that Ms. Biesterfeld be reinstated to her former position and that she be compensated for her lost wages and damages,” the letter said.

Biesterfeld previously was honored by city officials in Lindsay and the Family Friendly Libraries, which gave her a Gold Star Award for her actions.

Liberty Counsel reported it was Hill who signed off on a “satisfactory” evaluation for Biesterfeld before the confrontation over the pornography and who, after the fact, rasied other complaints about Biesterfeld.

It also was Hill who, when police made the arrested and confiscated the computer, told officers they had no business enforcing the child pornography law within the library.

Randy Thomasson, chief of the Campaign for Children and Families, a prominent pro-family leadership group, said he also was working to build support for the librarian.

“Our goal is to get Brenda’s job back, to institute a new library policy that has no tolerance for obscenity and child pornography, and to send a nationwide message that child predators will not be allowed to ‘do their thing’ in libraries,” he said.

Thomasson said the local battle has significant national implications.

“We’re also defending children nationwide,” he said. “You see, the American Library Association, which is the controlling influence over libraries nationwide, views pornography and obscenity as ‘intellectual freedom.’ Because of this, many libraries in the U.S. allow child pornographers to use their Internet system undetected and unreported. Is it any wonder why child molestation has become so common?”

According to the association’s own Web page regarding intellectual freedom and censorship, it is not the work of a library to protect children from material that is “legally obscene.”

“Governmental institutions cannot be expected to usurp or interfere with parental obligations and responsibilities when it comes to deciding what a child may read or view,” the ALA says.

It also defines “intellectual freedom” as the right to see material “without restriction.” Those who object to obscenity and its availability are “censors,” who “try to use the power of the state to impose their view of what is truthful and appropriate.”

“Each of us has the right to read, view, listen to, and disseminate constitutionally protected ideas, even if a censor finds those ideas offensive,” the ALA states.

“Censors might sincerely believe that certain materials are so offensive, or present ideas that are so hateful and destructive to society, that they simply must not see the light of day. Others are worried that younger or weaker people will be badly influenced by bad ideas, and will do bad things as a result,” the ALA said.

That was the point Steve Baldwin, a former California lawmaker, was making when he penned a column citing a report from the Family Research Council.

“A 2000 report by the Family Research Council details how its researchers sent out surveys to every librarian in America asking questions about access to pornography. Despite efforts by the ALA to stop its members from responding, 462 librarians did respond. Their replies revealed 472 instances of children assessing pornography, 962 instances of adults accessing pornography, 106 instances of adults exposing children to pornography, five attempted child molestations, 144 instances of child porn being accessed and 25 instances of library staff being harassed by those viewing pornography. Over 2,062 total porn-related incidents were reported by a mere 4.6 percent of our nation’s librarians so one can assume the number of incidents is probably twenty times higher,” he reported.

He wrote that the “bias” of the ALA is obvious.

“When parent groups have offered to place books in libraries with conservative themes or are critical of the left, the ALA’s claims of being First Amendment guardians suddenly look fraudulent. When one parent tried to donate George Grant’s book, ‘Killer Angel,’ a critical biography of Planned Parenthood founder Margaret Sanger, the library sent a letter stating that ‘the author’s political and social agenda…is not appropriate.’ Huh? A biographical book with zero profanity is banned but books that feature the ‘F’ word a hundred times are sought after with zeal. Go figure,” Baldwin wrote.

Thomasson called on librarians across the country to report child pornography to law enforcement whenever it happens.

“The liberals who run the library system in America must stop violating the federal law because they regard child pornography as ‘free speech,'” he said. “All pornography is immoral, but possession of child pornography is a federal crime. No librarian should fear reporting child pornography to the police, but libraries that fail to report these crimes should be very afraid. Brenda Biesterfeld will get her job back, and more.”





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The court order made against homeschooling in the state of California has now been vacated. Now the court will be hearing more on behalf of home educators. Any previous decisions or rulings made in this case are now not binding upon parents desiring to teach their children, including the requirement of a teaching credential. I believe this is a big step in the right direction, but that we need to watch and see what the future outcome is going to be. As positive as we may feel about this development, we need to stay tuned in to this matter faithfully to preserve our parental rights. We cannot be lax, we must take our responsibility seriously, and not be afraid to do the “heavy lifting”, when our children’s well-beings are at stake. You can read more about this turn of events here:

The article follows:

California homeschooling gets 2nd chance
Court vacates ban, grants rehearing in controversial case
Posted: March 26, 2008
10:42 pm Eastern
By Bob Unruh
© 2008 WorldNetDaily
A California court order that essentially banned homeschooling in the state has been vacated, and the judges who issued the ruling will hear further arguments on the status of parents who want to teach their own children.

WND broke the story in February of an appeals court order in Los Angeles against the family of Phillip and Mary Long.

The Longs say they have homeschooled because of an anti-Christian bias in public schools. The ruling stemmed from a juvenile proceeding that already had been closed by the court when court-appointed attorneys for their children appealed in an attempt to ban homeschooling. The ruling from Appeals Court Judge H. Walt Croskey granted the attorneys’ wishes.

The court ruling said: “We find no reason to strike down the Legislature’s evaluation of what constitutes an adequate education scheme sufficient to promote the ‘general diffusion of knowledge and intelligence. … We agree … ‘the educational program of the State of California was designed to promote the general welfare of all the people and was not designed to accommodate the personal ideas of any individual in the field of education.'”

The appeals ruling said California law requires “persons between the ages of six and 18” to be in school, “the public full-time day school,” with exemptions being allowed for those in a “private full-time day school” or those “instructed by a tutor who holds a valid state teaching credential for the grade being taught.”

The decision sent shock waves through the homeschooling community across the nation, and a variety of groups jumped into action, including the Home School Legal Defense Association, which worked with other groups on a petition for rehearing before the same court.

The petition was submitted by Gary Kreep of the United States Justice Foundation to the 2nd Appellate District Division on behalf of the Longs.

In an announcement today, the HSLDA said the petition had been granted.

“The California Court of Appeal granted a motion for rehearing in the In re Rachel L. case – the controversial decision which purported to ban all homeschooling in that state unless the parents held a teaching license qualifying them to teach in public schools,” the HSLDA said in a statement.

“The automatic effect of granting this motion is that the prior opinion is vacated and is no longer binding on any one, including the parties in the case,” HSLDA said.

“The Court of Appeal has solicited a number of public school establishment organizations to submit amicus briefs including the California Superintendent of Public Instruction, California Department of Education, the Los Angeles Unified School District, and three California teacher unions. The court also granted permission to Sunland Christian School to file an amicus brief. The order also indicates that it will consider amicus applications from other groups,” HSLDA said.

“Home School Legal Defense Association will seek permission to file such an amicus brief and will coordinate efforts with a number of organizations interest[ed] in filing briefs to support the right of parents to homeschool their children in California,” the group said.

“This is a great first step,” noted Michael Farris, chairman of HSLDA. “We are very glad that this case will be reheard and that this opinion has been vacated, but there is no guarantee as to what the ultimate outcome will be. This case remains our top priority.”

A long list of homeschool groups working in the state previously released a statement on the issue that could affect 200,000 students. Joining were the California Homeschool Network, Christian Home Educators Association of California, Private and Home Educators of California and HomeSchool Association of California.

“We are united in the goal of protecting the right of parents to teach their children private at home without additional governmental interference,” the statement said. “We believe that children deserve to learn in the environment that best meets their individual needs. We support the right of parents to direct their children’s education including, if they desire, teaching their children privately at home apart from any public school program and without a teaching credential.”

The groups also described the appeals court ruling as “excessively broad” and concluded the previously interpretation of state law, under which parents are allowed to set up a private school and teach their own children in their own homes, is accurate.

The HSLDA had sought to have the court “de-publish” the opinion, which also would limited its impact. But the ruling has attracted some attention from the highest levels.

White House spokeswoman Dana Perino said the president has supported homeschoolers in the past.

“I’m sure it [the ruling] will probably be appealed, and then we’ll see how it goes from there,” she said.

Among the other responses have been:

Assemblyman Joel Anderson has proposed a resolution in the California Legislature that calls for the Croskey ruling to be overturned.
Gov. Schwarzenegger said, “if the courts don’t protect parents’ rights, then, as elected officials, we will.”
California Supt. of Public Instruction Jack O’Connell said, “Parents still have the right to homeschool in this state.”
A separate petition appeals to Schwarzenegger and the Legislature is being run by the Pacific Justice Institute, which is working with the website PetitionsToday.org.
And yet another petition also is under way, at the ReverseTheRuling.com website. That organization offers information for homeschoolers who want to follow the California case, because of that state’s influence throughout the nation. It was assembled by the organization Learning By Grace, an outreach dedicated to providing parents with innovative online Christian homeschool materials.
Even students are getting their say.

“The court cannot ‘make’ something illegal – that’s the legislature’s job. Sheesh!” wrote Jon Chi Lou, of Heritage Christian High School.

And Hye-Sung F. Gehring added, “This is ridiculous. California is retarded. Always has been.”

The HSLDA also is suggesting an amendment to the U.S. Constitution specifically recognizing parental rights. That effort already is under way under the banner of Parental Rights.

Pacific Justice also is representing Sunland Christian School, which has been working with the family’s children in a study program, on an appeal to the state Supreme Court.

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Home education is a hot topic in the media these days, as it has been for some time, particularly due to the recent court ruling in California regarding parental rights to homeschool their children. I have been trying to stay abreast of all that has been occuring and the response to it so that I can share what I find with you here and help us all to be aware of what is going on in this important matter. My husband let me know that homeschooling was a topic today on the Diane Rehm Show, a radio program. Here is the link: http://www.wamu.org/audio/dr/08/03/r2080324-19493.asx

Topics that were discussed included the following:

  • parental rights to educate their children
  • homeschool regulation
  • constitutional rights
  • homeschool success
  • reasons to homeschool
  • homeschool statistics

This discussion featured guests including a mother who has homeschooled for 14 years, an HSLDA representative, and a Stanford professor. Although I would personally rather have heard from a parent who represents the more typical homeschooler at large, I was happy that they chose someone with many years of home education under their belt, and a seemingly decent understanding of what is at stake for other homeschool families.

It was a mixed bag of an interview, with many differing viewpoints. It was not as balanced as I would prefer, as it had a fairly liberal tilt, but attempts were made to represent both sides of the issues, which I appreciate. What concerned me the most was the emphasis that was placed upon regulating home education more closely. The only real dissenter to this idea was the HSLDA representative, even the interviewed homeschool mother seemed in favor of some regulation. We do not need more stipulations and requirements. We need our rights as parent’s to educate our children protected. The potential precedent and resulting controversy of the California ruling has the potential to be the spring-board upon which more regulation is forced upon us. Which is why I will continue to keep close tabs on this issue, even after the media frenzy has slowed or subsided.

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