Teddy’s Law is being sponsored by Capri Cafaro (D), Ohio district 32.
Here are the main points of Teddy’s Law, so named for the teenager that died from child abuse at the hands of his mother’s boyfriend. Teddy was pulled out of a brick and mortar school and homeschooled; according to Cafaro this was so they could hide the abuse.
According to a press release from Parent Led Reform, dated December 18, 2013:
If “Teddy’s Law” passes, homeschoolers in Ohio will need to undergo a social services litmus test requiring background checks, home visits, and interviews of children, before given permission to teach their children at home. News reports indicate that abuse had been reported for years prior to the Teddy’s death. Yet which, if any, serious interventions were made by government authorities charged with investigating such allegations are still in question.
Cafaro says, “The objective there is to make sure the child services agency has all the information on that family that is looking to home school that child and then they refer that “Yay” or “Nay” should this child be educated at home, and they pass that along to the superintendent of schools and the process goes from there,” said Cafaro.”
Neither Parent Led Reform nor I ever condone any sort of violence toward a child, but here we have a clear example of punishing the whole because of a few. This law invites government agencies right into the home of anyone who wants to homeschool their child. Questioning good folks and putting them in a government database to be tracked by the government.
Homeschoolers are already under an insane amount of pressure right now. You have the kids who were ordered by a judge in Florida to go to public school. Homeschoolers have long been of interest to the government. And now, because of these mandates, if passed, many who would like to homeschool, who do not abuse their children, will be afraid to do so.
In a CHEO Legislative Report it is pointed out that: “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.”
Instead of putting stifling new mandates on innocent parents, why can’t we go after the real criminals? The ones who abuse and the ones who don’t do their jobs and let children like Teddy fall through the cracks. It is not clear if these authorities are being investigated for their non-action. The precedent this law will set will be a harrowing defeat of all homeschoolers in Ohio and will open doors to new laws that will surely be proposed in other states.
I urge you to carefully watch your state and make sure nothing as egregious as this law is brought up in your legislature. Although it may be well intentioned it is sure to have the most profound and negative consequences on homeschoolers in the United States.
Remember, a lot of atrocities have happened in the name of protecting children.