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    by Mike McHugh

California Appeals Court Trashes First Amendment Rights of Parents
Date Posted: March 20, 2008

Here we go again! After decades of relative peace between California parents and state officials over the alternative of home education, a California Appeals Court ruled on February 28,2008 that Christian families have no legal or constitutional grounds for pursuing home education. The 2nd Appellate Court in Los Angeles went so far as to say that the Long family’s sincerely held religious convictions were “not the quality of evidence that permits us to say that the application of California’s compulsory public school education law to them violates their First Amendment rights.”

In addition to mandating that all teachers in a home school setting be state certified, this appellate court ruling stated that because home schools “cloister” children in social environments that are not in the state’s or the child’s best interest, they should be regarded as unacceptable for children. In other words, for the first time in American history, California parents would be legally obligated to provide their children with social training that is “state approved”. The justices in this case actually had the audacity to declare that the social environment within the government schools of California, with all of its problems (gangs, drugs, violence, venereal disease, and suicide, to name a few), must be the standard to which all schools must ultimately aspire. Wow! What could be more absurd than to insist that the social environment that is commonly offered in the California government schools today be regarded as the “gold standard” of wholesome, model socialization?

What this court is actually saying, of course, is that because children are the property of the state rather than parents, it will be the state alone that will determine when, where, and how all children will be educated. And all this stuff you have heard about in recent decades about parents actually having First Amendment rights over their children’s education, is, in the court’s opinion, meaningless. This, my fellow Americans, is raw judicial tyranny! This ruling, if not reversed, will eventually bring a new war over parental rights and the constitution to the threshold of a reported 166,000 home educators across California. For the first time in decades, such parents would be facing criminal charges for failing to have their children educated by state licensed teachers, in a place that the state regards as a “socially acceptable” environment.

Many parents and educators thought that the fight to establish parental rights in education was over in the early 1990’s. Obviously, such individuals were wrong. God willing, the current generation of home school parents, just like their predecessors, will respond to this growing crisis and constitutional challenge with the immortal words of the famous American patriot, John Paul Jones, “ I have not yet begun to fight!”

Copyright 2008 Michael J. McHugh

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Biography Information:
This column is written by the staff at Christian Liberty Academy in Arlington Heights, Illinois. As a pioneer in the homeschool movement, Christian Liberty ministries has been operating a full service, K-12 home school program for over thirty years and a Christian textbook ministry (Christian Liberty Press), since 1985. The mission of Christian Liberty is to provide parents with quality, affordable educational products and services that will enable them to teach their children in the home and to train their children to serve Christ in every area of life. A more extensive explanation of the CLASS home school program can be obtained at www.homeschools.org.
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