by John Carey, CHEWV’s Legislative Liaison
A recent WVNews article by Kailee Gallahan claims that “homeschooling cuts over $2 million from Harrison School systems funding.” In the article, Harrison County public school officials accuse homeschoolers of costing the county millions. The article also asserts that most of those homeschooling in Harrison County – if not throughout the state – are using homeschooling as an excuse to avoid truancy prosecution. County officials lament the fact that parents are not required to submit an application to homeschool but are allowed to simply notify the county of their intentions. In their own words, “We cannot intervene, we cannot prevent, and we cannot deny.”
Public officials do not make such bold statements simply for the purpose of informing the public. Their purpose is to misinform the public and influence legislators to support their positions, granting them the power to do what they want, the way they want. In this case, the officials want the law changed so they can stop the growth of homeschooling in Harrison County. They want the power to decide who can and cannot homeschool. They complain that “The law allows [parents] to homeschool at any point in time if they wish. It’s not an application process, it’s a notification process.”
So should you care about any of this if you don’t live in Harrison County? Absolutely! The changes in homeschooling which Harrison County officials seek would inevitably affect families throughout the entire state.
What county officials do NOT consider is that their plan to increase public school funding by forcing homeschoolers to attend public school violates the parents’ inherent religious and parental rights. Below is a string of US Court decisions based on the Bill of Rights, all demonstrating that parents have the right to direct the education of their children.
Meyer v. Nebraska, (1923)
“The Fourteenth Amendment guarantees the right of the individual … to establish a home and bring up children, to worship God according to his own conscience.”
Pierce v. Society of Sisters (1925)
“The child is not the mere creature of the state; those who nurture him and direct his destiny have the right and the high duty, to recognize and prepare him for additional obligations.”
Wisconsin v. Yoder (1972):
“The history and culture of Western civilization reflect a strong tradition of parental concern for the nurture and upbringing of their children. This primary role of the parents in the upbringing of their children is now established beyond debate as an enduring tradition.”
Santosky v. Kramer (1982):
The Court noted that “freedom of personal choice in matters of family life is a fundamental liberty interest protected by the Fourteenth Amendment.”
It is odd to think that a public-school official would view my child as a source of income – as if my child’s higher purpose in life is to enable the state to achieve its financial goals. As one county official put it, “The more students, the more funding, the more teachers,” and also “With the 582 students [homeschooled students] enrolled in the public school system, not only would the school system be able to fund more teachers in the county, but also add a myriad of additional school programs and offerings.”
West Virginia Delegate Terry Waxman wrote an editorial responding to the Harrison County statements. Her welcome response is a must-read.
“Children have one shot at childhood and their K-12 education. If a parent feels that their child is not receiving the best education possible, it is the duty of the parent to do what is in the best interest of their child. For increasing numbers of people in West Virginia, that choice is homeschooling.”
Delegate Terry Waxman
Yes, it is our duty, before God, to do what is in the best interest of our children. It is the duty of the state to protect our right to do so. We can thank God for the protections that are contained in our founding documents – documents which respect the God-given rights of the people and therefore limit the government.
We must never forget nor forfeit our precious heritage as citizens of the United States of America, but guard it with all vigor and vigilance:
…We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. — That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, — That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness…
— The Declaration of Independence
Let’s stand with those who stand with us at the state capitol. Let’s also gain a deeper understanding of the tools “the Creator” has given us to protect our freedoms as they are expressed in the Declaration of Independence, clearly defined in the Bill of Rights, and established by our U.S. Constitution.
The God who gave us life gave us liberty at the same time.
Note: Mike Donnally Esq., with HSLDA, has thoroughly responded to the statements of Harrison County public officials. I encourage you to read Mike’s article and arm yourself with the facts. Knowing the facts is vital if we are to defend our freedoms before the legislators go back into session in January.