UPDATE:  Lawmaker backs down on "worst Homeschool bill in history."  State Sen. Capri Cafaro released this statement Friday:

"SB 248 was never meant to be a policy debate about educating children in the home. It was meant to address weaknesses in the law pertaining to child protection. Unfortunately, the true intent of the bill to curtail child abuse has been eclipsed the by the issue of homeschooling.

After consultation with Teddy's family, we have collectively decided the best course of action is for me to withdraw SB 248, and instead pursue a more comprehensive approach to address the current challenges in the state's social service and criminal justice system."

"It is our hope that this new focus will bring the discussion back to where it was always intended to be: protecting children. I am requesting field hearings to address the impact of current law, government agencies and nonprofit organizations on child welfare in Ohio.  I will not include any content related to education in the home in a new bill, or in any other bill."

According to station WKBN,  she said she will make a formal motion on the Senate floor when they return after Jan. 1.

A new bill has just been introduced in Ohio and it may be one of the most regressive bills in nation when it comes to the rights of homeschool families and parents.

It is called teddy's law.

The backstory here, Teddy Foltz-Tedesco was 14 years-old when he was killed by his mother's boyfriend Zaryl Bush. Teddy was reportedly being abused for at least 3 years. According to his father, when teachers at school noticed signs of abuse and reported it, Teddy's mother pulled him and his two siblings out of public school and began homeschooling them. Ultimately, teddy died from severe head trauma in January of 2013, after undergoing years of methodical abuse. His mother and her boyfriend are now serving prison time.

So now comes Teddy's Law or SB 248. A new bill, introduced December 3rd in the Ohio Senate by State Senator Capri Cafaro. So what does Teddy's Law do?

According to Cafaro, "The bill creates protocols for those applying to educate a child at home by creating a link between the local public service children agency, and the education system."

So what are the specifics here? Well, for one, Teddy's Law takes the very unusual and unbelievably tragic case of Teddy Foltz-Tedesco and strips the rights of every homeschool family and parent in the state.

If passed, Teddy's law would require background checks and interviews before the children are allowed to become a part of a homeschool or online program. So before a parent is allowed to teach their own children, social workers have to deem you fit.

School and child service officials would be able to access a statewide data base to determine whether there are past or current abuse investigations against anyone in the child's household.

If there are records of child abuse by anyone in the household or if the interviews elicit negative information, it must be passed on to the local superintendent or educational leader.

According to Cafaro, "Once a complaint is acknowledged and a negative recommendation is given, the new school would have to delay or deny the admission to the home or Internet-based school program."

Of course, local media is reporting the predictable story. The headlines… "Teddy's Law Aims To Protect Children"; "Teddy's Law Would Battle Child Abuse." But the part of the story the media isn't telling you, that the death of Teddy, while heartbreaking is being mis-represented.

Why? It's because Teddy was already in a public school for years while he was undergoing abuse at the hands of his mother's boyfriend and while his mother allowed it to go on. Signs of abuse were seen by teachers, who reported it and it was Child Protective Services that left him in that home.

The question now being asked by groups like Homeschool Legal Defense, why did social workers who had the information in front of them not intervene in a serious way and enforce the already strong and existing child protection laws in Ohio?

State Senators pushing for this law will say, "if only we had known this kind of abuse was taking place Teddy could have been saved" but the truth is social workers and teachers DID KNOW THAT TEDDY WAS BEING ABUSED AND THEY DIDN'T STOP IT FROM HAPPENING

That is the reality that homeschool families in Ohio and across the nation should be confronting lawmakers with.

You can contact the bill's sponsors using the following contact information:
Senator Cafaro (Primary Sponsor)
1 Capitol Square, Ground Floor
Columbus, OH 43215
(614) 466-7182
Email: http://www.ohiosenate.gov/senate/cafaro/contact
Senator Brown (Cosponsor)
1 Capitol Square, Ground Floor
Columbus, OH 43215
(614) 466-5204
Email: http://www.ohiosenate.gov/senate/brown/contact
Senator Turner (Cosponsor)
1 Capitol Square, 2nd Floor
Columbus, OH 43215
(614) 466-4583
Email: http://www.ohiosenate.gov/senate/turner/contact
Senator Schiavoni (Cosponsor)
1 Capitol Square, 2nd Floor
Columbus, OH 43215
(614) 466-8285
Email: http://www.ohiosenate.gov/senate/schiavoni/contact

When you contact these offices be firm and polite. Although this law is misguided, it was drafted in response to a terrible tragedy, and we should keep Teddy's family in our thoughts and prayers.

Home School Legal Defense Summary of Bill
Summary:
Senate Bill (SB) 248 was introduced on December 3, 2013, and would require children's services to review all homeschool notices to determine whether homeschooling is "in the best interest of the child." Under this proposed legislation, children's services would be required to meet with parents who choose to homeschool and conduct separate in-person interviews with each of their children. Children's services would then make a recommendation for or against the excuse from compulsory school attendance.

Children's services would automatically be required to recommend against homeschooling if they determine it is not in the child's "best interest" or if the family has any record of a child welfare investigation, regardless of the result of that investigation. If there is a recommendation against homeschooling, the superintendent would be ordered to delay excusing the children for homeschooling until the family participates in a CPS parenting "intervention."

The effect of the bill would require children's services to divert time and resources away from true child abuse investigations in order to review homeschool plans which they are neither prepared nor qualified to evaluate.

This bill is breathtaking in its attempt to impose unreasonable government intrusion on Ohio families. In responding to this ill-advised legislation, however, it is important to keep in mind the background that has led to this bill.

Children's services would automatically be required to recommend against homeschooling if they determine it is not in the child's "best interest" or if the family has any record of a child welfare investigation, regardless of the result of that investigation. If there is a recommendation against homeschooling, the superintendent would be ordered to delay excusing the children for homeschooling until the family participates in a CPS parenting "intervention."

This bill would also require children's services to divert time and resources away from true child abuse investigations in order to review homeschool plans which they are neither prepared nor qualified to evaluate.

You can sign the petition here:

http://www.change.org/petitions/ohio-state-senate-vote-no-to-ohio-senate-bill-248

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