JUDGES WANT TO TERMINATE FAMILY'S HOMESCHOOLING RIGHTS
In a case that's almost guaranteed to have repercussions throughout the country, California appellate judges ruled that one family's children could not be homeschooled and must attend a government school or accredited private school.
The court's decision is the result of a civil case brought against Phillip and Mary Long regarding the education they provided to two of their children. The Longs currently have eight children in their home, all of whom they've homeschooled.
Phillip Long told NewsWithViews.com that he and his wife will probably appeal the decision to California's Supreme Court, since they've homeschooled all of their children, the oldest now 29, because of various anti-Christian influences in California's public schools.
"Homeschooling is endowed upon parents by our Creator. The state of California or the federal government have no right to tell parents how their children should be taught," said Phil Long in a telephone interview with NewsWithViews.com.
This latest court decision granted a petition brought by attorneys retained by so-called "child advocates" to represent the two youngest Long children after the family's homeschooling was brought to their attention.
However, the Long's children did not have any say in their representation by these attorneys. While the lawyers claimed to be representing the interests of the children, they actually were representing the California education establishment and the teachers union the NEA. Critics say this is proof positive that in the eyes of bureaucrats parents and families have no rights regarding their childrens education.
According to information provided by Phil Long, the trial court had found that keeping the children at home deprived them of situations where they could interact with people outside the family. They also stated that there are people in the public school system who could provide help if there's a problem in the lives of pupils. A judge in the case also said that children in government schools could develop emotionally in a broader world than the parents' "cloistered" setting.
The appeals ruling stated that California's law mandates that "persons between the ages of six and 18" to be in school, "the public full-time day school," with exemptions being allowed for those in a "private full-time day school" or those "instructed by a tutor who holds a valid state teaching credential for the grade being taught."
The panel of judges ruled that the Long family failed to demonstrate "that [the] mother has a teaching credential such that the children can be said to be receiving an education from a credentialed tutor," and that their involvement and supervision by Sunland Christian School's independent study programs was of no value.
According to the Longs, the family's religious beliefs were not given ample weight in the case.
The court claimed the Longs' "sincerely held religious beliefs" are "not the quality of evidence that permits us to say that application of California's compulsory public school education law to them violates their First Amendment rights. Such sparse representations are too easily asserted by any parent who wishes to homeschool his or her child," the court concluded.
Phillip Long said his family is working on ways to appeal to the California Supreme Court, because he will not permit the pro-homosexual, pro-bisexual, pro-transgender agenda of California's public schools to indoctrinate his children.
"We just don't want them teaching our children. They teach things that are totally contrary to what we believe. They put questions in our children's minds we don't feel they're ready for," said Mr. Long during the telephone interview with NWV.
"We're going to appeal to a higher court. I don't want to put my children in a public school that teaches ideologies I don't believe in," he said.
"Children belong to the parents, not to the state," Long said. He also acknowledged that there's a great deal of misinformation about the status of homeschooling in California.
Many observers believe this is merely the beginning of a movement to totally ban homeschoolng because the California Legislature and Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger worked together to establish Senate Bill 777 and Assembly Bill 394 as a law that institutionalizes the promotion of homosexuality, bisexuality, transgenderism and other alternative lifestyle choices within the public school system.
"The reason homeschoolers are under attack is obvious. NEA and the Homosexual lobby wants them in public schools to indoctrinate them. Homeschooled children are not brainwashed with homosexuality, the myth of global warming, globalism, etc. Homeschooled children are still innocent and that can't be allowed. Therefore, attacks on homeschoolers will undauntedly escalate across the country unless the Christian community wakes up," said conservative strategist Mike Baker.
"[California] law at first allowed public schools to voluntarily promote homosexuality, bisexuality and transsexuality. Then, the law required public schools to accept homosexual, bisexual and transsexual teachers as role models for impressionable children. Now, the law has been changed to effectively require the positive portrayal of homosexuality, bisexuality and transsexuality to 6 million children in California government-controlled schools," said one homeschooling advocate.
There are no similar protections for students with traditional or conservative lifestyles and beliefs, however. Offenders will face the wrath of the state Department of Education, up to and including lawsuits, according to legal experts.
"SB 777 results in reverse discrimination against students with religious and traditional family values. These students have lost their voice as the direct result of Gov. Schwarzenegger's unbelievable decision. The terms 'mom and dad' or 'husband and wife' could promote discrimination against homosexuals if a same-sex couple is not also featured," said Baker.
"Having 'mom' and 'dad' promotes a discriminatory bias. You have to either get rid of 'mom' and 'dad' or include everything when talking about [parental issues]," he said. "They [promoters of sexual alternative lifestyles] do consider that discriminatory."
"I shudder to think how millions of California children will be led astray, how marriage will be destroyed, and how immorality will step on the neck of morality if Arnold Schwarzenegger signs five anti-family bills into law. The 'Terminator' has less than two weeks to sign or veto very bad bills!" said Randy Thomasson, president of Campaign for Children and Families, in a previous article.
Thomasson is disappointed with California's Christian pastors and elders. In the last five days, many individuals and several businesses have responded to CCF's action alert. However, to date, only one church has faxed in veto letters to the liberal Schwarzenegger's office in Sacramento.
"This is not right, since the majority of pastors in California oppose sexual indoctrination of schoolchildren (SB 777 and AB 394), oppose demeaning marriage (AB 43 and AB 102), and oppose forcing the homosexual-bisexual-transsexual agenda on businesses, organizations, and churches (AB 14)," said Thomasson.
"Distracted drivers cause car accidents; distracted pastors may accidentally assist anti-family bills to be signed into law. The Governor will notice our loud voice or our relative silence. The choice is [ours]," he added.
"Young children will be led astray, the definition of marriage will be irreparably harmed, and cherished freedom of conscience will be trampled if Arnold Schwarzenegger signs these bad bills into law," said Thomasson.
"Too many Americans find themselves without church leadership on social issues that threaten the very foundation of western civilization," said conservative activist Michael Baker.
"More and more Americans are asking 'Where are the pastors? Where is the moral leadership?'" Baker added.
Mike Baker said he believes most church pastors and conservative political leaders are cowards who fear the wrath of the mainstream news media and the venom of liberal-left activists.
"Pastors especially have allowed themselves to be bullied by people who are no better than heathens. Conservative politcians fear the bad press they would get from the likes of the New York Times and Washington Post," Baker said.
"Private citizens are doing the work that pastors and church leaders should be doing in fighting the good fight on behalf of our most vulnerable citizens -- American children," Baker added.
Hearing about the Long's dilemma, one California homeschooling mother [who wished to remain anonymous] said that she went to her pastor asking for the church's involvement exposing the courts determination to end homeschooling in the state, and was told to her dismay that the church would not get involved citing Romans 13. She was told "We'll pray on it." I also prayed, which led me to come to you for help, she replied.
Exodus Mandate, a national advocacy group that urges parents to remove their children from the public school systems, has launched a California affiliate in the wake of passage of SB 777. The California Exodus project has been endorsed by a coalition of Christian organizations.
California isn't the only state beginning to clamp down on homeschooling families. For instance, in Oregon the state legislature has made grumblings about children not under their control because they are homeschooled and not exposed to indoctrination, according to public education critics.
One man who has been at the forefront of fighting for parents rights is Jack Alan Brown, a key figure in the Constitution Party of Oregon. An avowed conservative, Brown set out to collect signatures on a petition that would lead to a referendum placed on Oregon's election ballot. The referendum would ensure that parents' rights to educate their own children would be recognized by the state as sacrosanct.
"I believe that the phrase 'parental rights' involves two critical ingredients -- one is stated and the other is implied: parents and offspring. It links those two ingredients in a relationship that has rights imputed to one party of that relationship without denying that the other party has rights as well, i.e., saying that we believe in parental rights does not mean that only parents have rights, said Brown.
"Parental rights is a plural phrase, because it has numerous aspects. Parents have the right to honor and obedience from their offspring, but the passing on of their value system to their offspring is not only a right, it is a responsibility. Providing shelter and sustenance is a responsibility. Developing the moral character of one's offspring is not only a right it is a responsibility. Developing skills of one's offspring for survival as an adult is not only a right it is a responsibility. To interfere with the exercise of one's responsibility is as dastardly as interfering with the exercise of one's rights," he said.
Brown adds, "The majority of the participating voters of this state, through initiatives and through their elected representatives, have forcibly taken away the rights of parents to oversee the upbringing of their children, and have also restricted their rights to contract. We can only remedy the situation when we repeal all compulsory education statutes and eliminate mandatory public financing of education."
Brown fell short on the number of signatures collected. But he's vowed
to continue to fight for parents' rights and the rights of children
to be free from indoctrination.
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However, the Long's children did not have any say in their representation by these attorneys. While the lawyers claimed to be representing the interests of the children, they actually were representing the California education establishment.