Thursday, January 5, 2012

Sen. Beau McCoy to Work to Protect Home School in 2012

Home School Legal Defense Association
HSLDA has learned that Senator Beau McCoy is working on a bill to amend Nebraska’s recently changed truancy law that has contributed to increased truancy prosecution against homeschoolers.

Sadly, it seems that public officials believe that once parents enroll their children in public school they relinquish the precious rights to direct their child's education. I am pleased that the HSLDA is defending home school rights, since it is a last buffer against complete state control over education, but it is discouraging that there are very few champions willing to protect the vast majority of parents whose kids use their tax payer funded schools.

Senator McCoy was home schooled, and sees a need to protect that constituency. I hope that he is not unmoved by the plea of his public school parents (his own kids in private school) who seek his help in amending Nebraska's "truancy" law. I am concerned that his letter to parents indicated that he believes parents who use the public schools have no right under the law to excuse their children from school and that power rests solely in the hands of school authorities.

While Sen. McCoy obviously believes that parents should have the right to opt out of public education, thus he protects adamantly the rights of home school parents, I fear that he does not with equal feeling advocate for parents rights in general.

Please continue to write and call Sen. McCoy and work to persuade him that his public school constituency is as worthy of his time and efforts. I believe that Sen. McCoy is a good man who will act when he is convinced of the importance of this issue.


  1. I am shocked and disappointed that a man of Sen. McCoy's passion and intellect doesn't see what is right in front of his face: They are coming for the homeschoolers next. He would better serve the homeschool community by cutting this legislation off at the knees NOW. In addition, why is he only serving the tiny minority of his constituents who are homeschoolers? What about the vast majority that are public school families? It's sad that he is hesitating to fight for THEIR rights as well. It reminds me of the 1946 sermon by Rev. Martin Neimoller: "....they came for the Jews and I didn't speak out because I wasn't a Jew." Senator, they're coming for the public school kids now, but next it will be private schools and homeschoolers. Don't wait until it's too late to speak out!

  2. Excellent points Brenda, and there is nothing more I can add (which is an interesting phenomenon, because I usually have lots to add!).

    This legislation - as it is currently written to undermine and disrespect parents' credibility for the care of our own children - is the slippy slope that adds the grease to faster and even more pervasive violations of parental rights by the state and bureaucrats.

    That a relative few parents may act irresponsibly or that some youth dare to actually be truant (absent from school without permission from their parents) should NEVER be the justification for defining the majority of parents OR creating laws that strip parents of their intrinsic qualifications and assumed rights to the care, nurture, and education of our own children.

    If it is true that Senator McCoy believes parents are qualified to teach their children ALL THE TIME (homeschooling), then how can it also be true that parents should not be believed or trusted to make the best decisions for them when they attend public schools?

    This law that has redefined truancy to include law-abiding parents and students and turns us all into neglectors and delinquents is offensive and dangerous. It must be amended to protect the innocent, which is the vast majority of Sen. McCoy's constituents AND of Nebraska families.

  3. (Ha ... I guess I couldn't help myself after all!)

  4. I know personally that Senator McCoy is a trustworthy, God loving, ethical, moral man. This is an important issue, but if you step back and look at the big picture, you will see that he has many important issues to deal with in the Legislature this session. So I would recommend you do not flood his 'in' box with mail. I know this would tire me personally. Give him some time and read ALL of the bills he has written, co-sponsored etc. Be reminded he also is going against many liberal bills that have been introduced. We barely pay these Senators a minimum salary with no benefits. He has to work extra hard to do all that he has on his plate, both personally and professionally. Cut the man a little slack and pray. It helps.

  5. I too believe that Sen. McCoy is a "trustworthy, God loving, ethical, moral man", in fact, I believe that many of the Senators who voted for this Invasive truancy law are good men. That being true only makes it more discouraging for parents in ours state. The law was practically unopposed in our legislature!

    I am certainly not unaware of the limits of our unicameral system and the limitations and flaws of our senators! I too believe that Nebraska does not pay our Senators enough for what they are expected to do.

    It is important to note that Sen. McCoy represents the vast majority of Millard School parents and Millard District in particular has taken the power and political cover that this law gives them and abused that power more than any other school district that I have heard of. A large portion of his constituency is angry over this law and it is only fair that they should receive his support (if only moral support) in getting it changed.

    A senator certainly doesn't have to add the issue to his work load of legislation in order to provide support to the efforts to change the law. The public support of any senator who believes that the government has overstepped is extremely helpful.

    You may have missed it, but Sen. McCoy wrote letters to his concerned constituents that indicated his support for the law as it stands. You can read that here:

    His response showed a lack of understanding on the law and its effects. He seems to believe that the power school districts have to give a student permission to absent translates into protection for that student from being classified a truant and facing legal action, but this is not the case.

    He also seems to be telling parents that the 2010 law changed nothing! And yet it has resulted in a 1000% increase in truancy filings in Douglas county alone. The negative affects of the law have been far reaching and well documented on this site. The school districts (including MPS) have continually told parents that the law is responsible for the changes they are experiencing.

    He made sure to point out in his letter that it is his belief that it is a "misconception" to believe that "parents were allowed to excuse their child from school for any reason they chose." Parents are perfectly aware that they had to work within their school district policy to excuse their children from school, and the parents I speak to never had issue with their school policies or how their principals handled this process prior to the 2010 law.

    What parents want is for Sen. McCoy to acknowledge the change, that the law was the cause of these changes, and that it can and should be fixed. His constituents who participate in the efforts of the NFF want Sen. McCoy to use his reputation to publicly defend the role parents should play in excusing their children from school and support changes that would empower local governance and make it more accountable to the parents they serve.

  6. "Anonymous" - If Beau McCoy is too busy to hear concerns from constituenrts, perhaps he should slow down. Being too busy introducing bills is not a justification for being unavailable to hear or read comnents from the citizenry.

    I'm personally very concerned about at least one bill he has introduced.