Withdraw Ohio Senate Bill 248
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Ohio Senate Bill 248 (aka Teddy’s Law) was introduced Dec. 3, 2013 by primary sponsor, Sen. Capri Cafaro (D-32) and co-sponsors, Sen. Edna Brown (D-11), Sen. Nina Turner (D-25), and Sen. Tony Schiavoni (D-33).
This legislation would require that any family wishing to home educated their child/children via traditional homeschool or via online public charter schools be subject to a Child Protective Services investigation and get “permission” to home educate. This proposed state mandate would require the Child Protective Services agency to meet with the person submitting the application (the parent or guardian) and would require an in-person interview with each child for whom the application is made.
The stated purpose of these interviews would be for the agency to determine if it is "in the best interest of the child to grant admission" to the online charter school or to grant the excuse from public school attendance to home educate. The legislation further requires that the children's service agency conduct in person interviews two additional times during the school year. This oversteps government authority and violates the civil liberties of these parents and children. It will also further stress Child Protective Services, which is already overwhelmed.
SB248 is a response to the 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 Child Protective Services authorities. It was the failure of Child Protective Services to protect this child. Teddy's tragic death is not due to any attempt to home educate and has nothing to do with home education. This was a complete failure of the agency to carry out their responsibilities under existing laws and regulations designed to protect children. There is nothing in SB248 that would have prevented Teddy's death. Teddy’s injuries that ultimately caused his death did not even happen in his own home. They happened in the home of his mother’s boyfriends, which would not be part of the CPS inquiry mandated by this legislation.
Though we extend our heartfelt condolences to the family of Teddy Foltz-Tedesco, we respectfully ask that this bill be withdrawn. As well intentioned as this law may be, it will unfortunately not prevent child abuse.
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