LSR 827 – Out-of-state Lobbyists Propose Bill to Criminalize NH Home Schoolers

LSR 827 (see summary below) a bill amending the NH home education law, was submitted by Rep. Parison. This proposal was drafted in Virginia by Home School Legal Defense Association (HSLDA).

Under HSLDA’s proposal parents, who “purposefully fail to provide” an education for their children, can be found guilty of a class B misdemeanor. This offense carries a $1200 fine and a criminal record for at least 3 years.

This is a major change, granting the state far more authority over education.

Truancy and “educational neglect” are civil offenses or “violations,” not criminal offenses. If this bill passes, NH will become the First-in-the-Nation label, but not for its “Live Free or Die” attitude. No other state criminalizes homeschooling parents for a failure to properly instruct their children.

* Who defines what’s constitutes “purposeful failure” to provide an education?

* What does “commensurate to the age and ability” of the child mean?

* Does the lack of an acceptable curriculum indicate “purposeful failure? Isn’t that the same as authorizing state censorship of home instruction?

* What if a child doesn’t learn on his expected schedule? Does this bill authorize the state to set the schedule?

* What if a child doesn’t meet this inequitable 15th percentile on a standardized test? Public school students are not required to meet any particular standard.

* Why can only “credentialed” teachers evaluate a home schooled child’s progress? The state will define which “credentials” are adequate.

Why aren’t pubic or private school students required to meet these same or, in fact, any standards? There are no criminal charges placed against public school teachers for “failure to educate.” What happened to equal treatment under the law?

What happened to due process? Why aren’t parents considered “innocent until proven guilty”? Under this bill parents are still “proving their innocence” of educational neglect, only this time in a new arena: criminal court.

The NH home schooling community was never consulted as to what should be in this home schooling bill. In fact, it was deliberately withheld from the home schooling community until January even though HSLDA sent an attorney to visit NH in October and lobby legislators and legislative candidates for their support.

LSR 827 (SPONSORS: (Prime) James Parison , Paul Mirski, Charles Sova, Raymond White, Sharon Carson) is an abomination and should be killed outright.

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