Michigan Home School Monitoring House Bill Will Not Get Hearing

• June 4, 2015 2:03 pm


A Michigan bill requiring home-schooling families to submit to mandatory biannual meetings with approved professionals will not receive a hearing in the state house.

"I can tell you this new effort to punish them with unprecedented invasions of their privacy and forced home visitations by law enforcement will not receive a hearing," said Amanda Price, chairwoman of the House Education Committee Chair, in an open letter posted to Facebook.

The legislation was introduced after two Detroit children were found dead in a freezer shortly after being removed from their public school.

State Rep. Stephanie Chang is one of the bills firm proponents. She wrote an article for the Detroit News defending the "common sense legislation" as a bill to protect the lives of children who aren’t enrolled in the public school system.

"For those hiding the abuse they inflict on their children behind the home-school system, having someone see their children is one critical check that we can put in place," Chang said.

Michigan remains one of 11 states that do not require the notification of state or school districts by parents who choose to home-school their child.

One of the more controversial requirements attempted to place monitoring mandates on home-schooled children in the state.

"The child meets in person at least twice a year with a physician, licensed social worker, physician’s assistant, individual employed in a professional capacity in any office of the friend of the court, school counselor or teacher, audiologist, psychologist, law enforcement officer, marriage and family therapist, member of the clergy, or regulated child care provider,"

Along with the meetings, the legislation would require that a parent or guardian provides personal information of the home-schooled students and their schooling location. Families would also be forced to keep records of children’s meetings with supervisors to be produced on request.

The bill sparked disapproval from some home schooling parents and other residents of the state.

"We live in a free society, and there's no way to prevent failures 100 percent," Mike Donnelly, staff lawyer for the Home School Legal Defense Association, told USA Today.

"Even if there were the most stringent requirements, those types of parents, they're not going to submit a notice of intent, so by imposing more restrictions because of a few bad people, that’s not an American fundamental approach to law."

Despite pressure following the deaths of the two children in Detroit, Price said that responsible home schoolers should not be penalized.

"Demonizing parents for making the choice to educate their kids at home is not how the lives of these two innocent children should be remembered," Price said. "I refuse to allow this bill to become their legacy."

State Sen. Phil Pavlov said that the Senate Education Committee, of which he is chairman, would reject a hearing for a similar version of the bill in the State Senate.

Published under: Detroit, Education, Michigan