Senator Cafaro has withdrawn SB 248.
Ohio Senate Bill 248
Introduced Dec. 3, 2013
Primary Sponsor: Sen. Capri Cafaro (D-32)
Co-Sponsors: Sen. Edna Brown (D-11), Sen. Nina Turner (D-25), Sen. Tony Schiavoni (D-33)
This legislation replaces the authority of a child’s parent in determining if home education can be pursued under 3301-34 regulations (tagged to Revised Code 3321.04) or if students should have access to eSchools by designating public children’s service agencies the sole authority to allow the “application” to proceed.
This proposed state mandate would require the public children’s service agency to meet with the person submitting the application (the parent) and would require an in-person interview with each child for whom the application is made. The stated purpose of these interviews would be for the agency to determine if it is “in the best interest of the child to grant admission” to the eSchool or to grant the excuse from public school attendance to home educate.
The legislation further requires that the children’s service agency conduct in person interviews two additional times during the school year.
SB248 would also require that the Department of Job and Family Services adopt new state regulations, in consultation with the Department of Education regarding the timing of the follow-up interviews. The State Board of Education and Department of Job and Family Services are also charged with jointly developing an “intervention program” for all children enrolled in eSchools or home educated that are subjects of investigations documented in the statewide automated child welfare information system. This intervention program would include behavioral counseling sessions in both individual and group settings; in-person classes on topics that include parenting, decision-making, personal or household finance, and homeschooling, and “any other services the department and the state board determine to be necessary”. These students would also be assessed to “determine the successful completion of the program.”
IN SUMMARY: This legislation is the most highly invasive policy that has been proposed since the inception of the Ohio home education regulations. It is a dangerous infringement on the right of parents to direct the education of their children and would certainly open up the existing state regulations for more invasive revisions.
SB248 is postured as a response to a tragic death of an abused teen, Theodore Foltz-Tedesco. As described on the Teddy’s Law website (http://teddyslaw.org/teddys-story/), this child experienced abuse for at least five years with repeated reports from neighbors and public school teachers to area Children’s Services authorities. It was the failure of Children’s Services to protect this child long before the mother attempted to withdraw him under the regulations for home education.
Teddy’s tragic death is NOT due to any attempt to home educate and has NOTHING to do with home education. This was a complete failure of the agency to carry out their responsibilities under EXISTING laws and regulations designed to protect children. There is nothing in SB248 that would have prevented Teddy’s death.
STATUS / ACTION:
SB248 was introduced on December 3. As of this notice, it has not yet been assigned to a committee.
While it is not likely that a bill this overreaching would proceed, we need to be aware that:
* It has been introduced
* It will be assigned to a committee
* It will be granted at least one hearing for sponsor testimony (as all bills are granted)
CHEO will keep you informed on the status of SB248.
1. Please contact your OWN state senator and express your opposition to BOTH – the ideas embodied in the legislation as well as the details. If any legislator erroneously postures this as a means of protection for children, please remind him/her that the tragedy of Teddy’s death was the result of children’s services failure to respond when reports were made. We already have laws in place that provide protection for children regardless of where they are educated.
2. Please contact the sponsor and co-sponsors of SB248 to express similar concerns with the overreach of this legislation.
Sen. Capri Cafaro: 614-466-7182
Sen. Edna Brown: 614-466-5204
Sen. Nina Turner: 614-466-4583
Sen. Joe Schiavoni: 614-466-8285
Please be respectful in all communications with legislators. If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org
This legislation is an example of why it is important to support the work of CHEO as we continue to work to protect the right of parents to home educate their children. Your ongoing support is critical to the work we are doing. We appreciate your assistance. Please consider giving a gift to help further this important work. http://188.8.131.52/~cheohome/donations/