Sunday, March 2, 2008

CT Parental Rights Bill Moves To Education Committee

NHELD updates us on the unanimous approval of the Children's Committee in the CT State Legislature, of SB162 which codifies a parents right to withdraw their children from public school. (Public Hearing transcript is here)

Senate Bill #162 - AN ACT CONCERNING THE WITHDRAWAL OF A CHILD FROM ENROLLMENT IN A PUBLIC SCHOOL: the language in the bill has been amended to read as Rep. Arthur O’Neill originally proposed it. The bill is now known as “Proposed Substitute Senate Bill #162” or LCO-2246. It now heads to the Education Committee.

The following Legislators have signed on as co-sponsors of the bill:

Sen. Edith G. Prague, 19th Dist., Rep. Vincent J. Candelora, 86th Dist., Rep. Arthur J. O'Neill, 69th Dist., Rep. Pamela Z. Sawyer, 55th Dist., Rep. Richard F. Ferrari, 62nd Dist., Rep. Ruth C. Fahrbach, 61st Dist., Rep. Al Adinolfi, 103rd Dist., Sen. Robert J. Kane, 32nd Dist., Rep. Patricia M. Widlitz, 98th Dist., Sen. Dan Debicella, 21st Dist., Rep. Anne L. Ruwet, 65th Dist., Rep. Richard Roy, 119th Dist., Rep. Lawrence G. Miller, 122nd Dist.

In the Children's Committee, here were the legislators that approved this bill: Sen. Meyer, Rep. McMahon, Sen. Harp, Rep. Mioli, Sen. Freedman, Rep. Ruwet, Rep. Giuliano, Rep. Mushinsky, Rep. Thompson, J. (Rep Truglia was absent).

They all deserve the thanks and praise of all parents across this state.

While we hope that the Education Chairmen will be supportive, we do not have their commitment to raise the bill at this time. They have killed this bill in the past three sessions, and have allowed the Department of Education to encourage school administrators to continue to file false complaints to DCF after parents have written to the school to disenroll their children from public school either to homeschool them or to send them to private school.

It is time for the Education Committee Chairmen to do the right thing and raise this bill in their own committee and pass it through without delay and without alteration. 44 families across CT have been subjected to abuse of authority buy school administrators, and have had to pay enormous legal costs and have been subjected to trauma and fear of having their children removed from their home simply for choosing to withdraw their child from public school!

Therefore, we urge all parents to write, email or telephone Senator Gaffey and Rep. Fleischmann, in addition to other members of the Education Committee, to request that they raise the bill for a vote by the Committee, and that they vote favorably to recommend the bill to the full House and Senate for consideration, without change to the wording approved by the Children's Committee (i.e. the original language from Rep. O'Neill).

Parents all across CT will be watching and waiting to see if these legislators will reinforce the rights of parents, and if they will put an end to the practice of school administrators keeping children on the enrollment lists and then falsely accusing them of educational neglect or other trumped up complaints, after parents have written letters directing the school to disenroll their children. The stories are just unbelievable! The accusations against parents are heartbreaking and damaging. These parents end up with a DCF record that may never be expunged! What these schools have been allowed to do to these families is unforgivable.

Ideally we would like to see administrators who purposefully file those false complaints be held to the law and prosecuted as well.

Please note:
At this time the language that the Children's Committee approved for this bill, that is the original language proposed by Rep. O'Neill, is not available online.