CHEO LEGISLATIVE ALERT: IMMEDIATE ACTION REQUESTED
SB 320 was introduced to require that the opening or closing of public or private schools with students in attendance in the 2020-2021 school year be a local decision. We applaud legislation that places this important decision at the local level. However, there is language in the bill that also affects home educators which is unnecessary and could have unintended consequences.
Section 1(A)(5) defines a “qualifying parent” as a parent defined under rule 3301-34-01 of the Administrative Code, who elects to provide home instruction to a student who has been excused from the compulsory attendance law for that purpose under section 3321.04 of the Revised Code.
Section 1(B) describes the requirement for local public or private schools to determine if their buildings will be open for instruction with students in attendance.
But the last paragraph of that section states, “Each qualifying parent may determine whether the building in which the parent provides instruction in the 2020-21 school year has adequate health safety measures to address COVID-19. For the 2020-21 school year no public official shall prohibit a qualifying parent from providing instruction in a particular building because of the implications of COVID-19 or require a parent to adopt health safety measures and guidelines to address COVID-19.”
- Home educating parents have never been associated with the term, “qualifying” and it would be a mistake create this perception. Technically the bill doesn’t define home educating parents as qualifying. It defines qualifying as being home educating parents. Either way this term shouldn’t be associated with homeschool parents.
- The building in which the parent provides instruction most often is their home. Parents already have the constitutional right to determine if their home has adequate health safety measures in every context, not just COVID-19. As parents sometimes provide instruction to their children at a location outside the home it would be odd to use a building that a public official has closed for public use due to a specific COVID-19 concern.
The Senate Education Committee is holding a hearing on SB320 tomorrow (June 24) at 2:30 pm (or after session). This hearing is for both proponents and opponents to the bill. Sponsor testimony was provided at a previous hearing.
Please contact your State Senator and as many members of the Senate Education Committee as possible. (see list below). If you don’t reach their staff directly please leave a voicemail. If the voicemail is full or not available, please send an email. To find your senator: https://www.ohiosenate.gov/senators/district-map
In you own words please ask that the portion of SB320 that pertains to home educators be removed from the bill. It isn’t necessary to the primary purpose of the bill to affect the opening of public and private schools. It describes decisions by home educating families that already exclusively belong to the parents.
Sen. Peggy Lehner (Chair) 614-466-4538
Sen. Andrew Brenner (Vice Chair) 614-466-8086
Sen. Teresa Fedor 614-466-5204
Sen. Louis Blessing 614-466-8068
Sen. William Coley 614-466-8072
Sen. Theresa Gavarone 614-466-8060
Sen. Matt Huffman 614-466-7584. (Sen. Huffman is the primary sponsor of SB320)
Sen. Stephen Huffman 614-466-6247
Sen. Tina Maharath 614-466-8064
Sen. Nathan Manning 614-644-7613
Sen. Vernon Sykes 614-466-7041
As always please be respectful in all communications with state legislators and their staff. If you have any questions, please feel free to let us know.
Legislative Liaison, CHEO
Link to committee members and the agenda for hearing: https://www.ohiosenate.gov/committees/education