Politics

Michigan Lawmaker Wants State Registry Of Home-Schooled Kids, Gets Angry Backlash

| by Michael Allen
Home-Schooling.Home-Schooling.

Democrat state Rep. Stephanie Chang of Michigan recently proposed a bill that would authorize a state registry of home-schooled students.

Parents would have to provide the names and ages of their home-schooled children and the address of their guardian to a local school district superintendent, notes The Associated Press.

Chang's bill would also require twice-a-year visits by a third party to check on children who are home-schooled.

According to MLive.com, the third party could include "a physician, licensed social worker, physician's assistant, friend of the court official, school counselor or teacher, audiologist, psychologist, police officer, marriage and family therapist, member of the clergy or regulated child care provider."

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Chang wrote the proposed legislation in response to the deaths of Stoni Ann Blair and Stephen Gage Berry who were allegedly killed and jammed into a freezer by their mother, who was supposedly home-schooling them in Detroit. Stephen had apparently been dead since August 2012 and Stoni since March 2013.

Chang said in a statement:

"We all failed Stoni and Stephen because Michigan does not maintain a list of home-schooled children and so we have no way to identify and then protect any child who could be at risk for abuse. Most home-school parents have their child’s best interest in mind, and many do a fine job home-schooling, but with Stephen and Stoni, that wasn’t the case."

Michigan Freedom Fund President Greg McNeilly dramatically pushed back against the proposed measure in a statement, of which The Detroit News published excerpts:

"Democrats' eagerness to send the police after parents who choose not to enroll their kids in traditional public schools is both chilling and appalling. Parents who choose to home-school their children deserve Lansing's support and admiration, not bullying from lawmakers and threats to send the police to their front doors twice a year."

Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder, a Republican, said last week that home-schooling parents "may have concerns about having to register" with a state agency.

The conservative website PJ Media added to the drama by screaming the headline, "Michigan Lawmakers Want Homeschooled Children Registered Like Dogs and Inspected by Social Workers."

Sources: Associated Press, MLive.com, The Detroit News, PJ Media
Image Credit: Jason Kasper/Flickr