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Oklahoma HB4130 - Government Overreach




ACTION REQUESTED: Contact legislators and politely let them know you are not in favor of this invasive bill.

SUMMARY:An Act relating to children and the Juvenile Code; amending 10A O.S. 2021, Sections 1-1-105 and 1-4-205, which relate to deprived children; defining terms; requiring parents to submit letter of intent when requesting a change in educational instruction; requiring certain information in letter of intent; requiring submission of letter of intent when changing school districts; directing the Department of Human Services to perform background check; directing the Department to maintain system; directing the Department to conduct biannual checks; prohibiting instruction in the home if there is abuse, neglect, or violence; directing the Department to explain reason for denial; and providing an effective date.

 

OUR OPINION:

If you open the bill, and go to pages 30-31 you will see all the amendments that are directly targeting home education. For those of you who don't want to take the time to open and read it, here are those amendments.You read them for yourself and see what red flags jump out at you, then read our comments below.

F. On or before the school district start date, parents making the decision to choose homeschooling, podschooling, or microschooling shall submit a letter of intent to the Department of Human Services. The letter of intent shall include the parent's or parents' names and Social Security number, the child's or children's names, the home address, the names of any other individuals living within the home, the names of any associated individuals or organizations assisting with the child's or children's schooling, and a brief statement for the decision of schooling.

 

G. Any change to or from the decision to homeschool, podschool, microschool, or change school districts, whether a result of a move or otherwise, shall require a subsequent letter of intent containing the information outlined in subsection F of this section.  

 

H. When the Department of Human Services receives a letter of intent, it shall perform an initial background check on parents, other adults within the home, and any adults assisting in the children's schooling.

 

I. The Department shall maintain a system to conduct biannual checks of the database and compile a database of individuals, facilities, and organizations that perform and assist with homeschooling, podschooling, or microschooling.

 

J. Requests to pursue instruction in the home shall not be authorized if there is a pending child abuse or neglect investigation against either custodial parent or a person instructing the child, or if either custodial parent or a person instructing the child has ever been convicted of domestic violence or child abuse or neglect.

 

K. If the request for home-based educational instruction is denied by the Department, an explanation for the denial shall be furnished in writing to the applicant by the Department.

 

SECTION 3. This act shall become effective November 1, 2024

OUR THOUGHTS: This is un-be-lievable! Seriously. Let's just take this one paragraph at a time and break this down. Understand that the opinions we are expressing and conclusions we are drawing are based on over 20 years of legislative education and experience. We are not amateurs at reading and analyzing bills. Grab a cup of coffee and wait until the kids are in bed because this is going to take a while.

Let's start with Paragraph F

Our red flags went up on the first sentence. "On or before the school district start date, parents making the decision to choose homeschooling, podschooling, or microschooling shall submit a letter of intent to the Department of Human Services." This is a mandatory registration, not with the Department of Education, but with the Department of Human Services. You have to have permission from DHS to home educate. This entire bill is about child abuse and neglect. They are now using the guise of child abuse and neglect to track and control home educators. The group behind this has been trying to shut down home education in every state and have used many methods to push their agenda. They consist of a group of disgruntled former home educated young adults whose anger and hatred of home education has grown into a vendetta against everything home education. That however, is another topic for another day. Let's get back to the bill.

Next sentence.

"The letter of intent shall include the parent's or parents' names and Social Security number, the child's or children's names, the home address, the names of any other individuals living within the home, the names of any associated individuals or organizations assisting with the child's or children's schooling, and a brief statement for the decision of schooling." This is telling you what information you are going to have to include in your letter of intent to home educate. Why do they want your social security number? Are they going to apply benefits or deny benefits because you home educate? Why is that even necessary? Then they are requiring you to list every child and every other person living in your home. So if Grandma or Aunt Lyida or cousins are with you, even temporarily, you have to turn their names over to DHS as well. AND if they don't live with you, but Grandma or Aunt Lydia or even your next door neighbor assists you with your homeschooling, you have to list them AND if you attend a coop, now all those who teach in the coop have to be listed. If you consider your child's piano lessons as music, you have to list your piano teacher. Kids in dance or gymnastics? You have to list your coaches. Yup. EVERY single person or organization who has any part in your child's education has to be listed. EVERY. SINGLE. ONE.

Then, to top it off, the last part of this sentence says that we not only have to submit an intent, we also have to tell hem WHY we want to homeschool. That is a complete overstep. I don't owe anyone an explanation as to why I intend to home educate my children. 

So at this point, we, home educators, will have to notify DHS EVERY year that we intend to educate our children at home. We also have to register every single person who assists us in educating our children in any way and give DHS an explanation as to why we want to home educate.

Paragraph G

"Any change to or from the decision to homeschool, podschool, microschool, or change school districts, whether a result of a move or otherwise, shall require a subsequent letter of intent containing the information outlined in subsection F of this section."

So, this says just what it means. If you make any changes to your decision to home educate, you have to notify DHS again. If you move, you have to notify them again, kind of like child molesters have to do. Really? Can you say tracking? They want to know who we are, and where we are at all times as if we are automatically criminals who are hiding our children in the basement and never letting them see the light of day. Sorry. Back on track. Basically, this is saying if we decide to stop home educating or decide to move to another city or even across town, we have to submit another letter of intent. So, if we stop home educating, we are no longer suspect and they don't care where we live or what we do.

So, now, we have to submit a separate intent  if we make any changes or moves. They want to track our location.

Let's move on to Paragraph H.

"When the Department of Human Services receives a letter of intent, it shall perform an initial background check on parents, other adults within the home, and any adults assisting in the children's schooling."

WHAT!? Seriously, that is exactly what it says it is. Now you, and EVERY SINGLE ADULT you listed as being in your household or helping you to educate your children are going to be screened and have background checks run on them. Is your 18 year old still living with you? Background check. If this isn't invasive, I don't know what is. 

We now add background checks on EVERY adult associated with your child's home or education.

Paragraph I

"The Department shall maintain a system to conduct biannual checks of the database and compile a database of individuals, facilities, and organizations that perform and assist with homeschooling, podschooling, or microschooling."Yes. This is data tracking. Pure and simple. You, your children, and every person, coop, organization, or church who might be involved in your home education will now be a part of the DHS database and it will have to be turned in twice a year.

Now, you and every person or organization associated with your home education will be tracked. 

Paragraph J

"Requests to pursue instruction in the home shall not be authorized if there is a pending child abuse or neglect investigation against either custodial parent or a person instructing the child, or if either custodial parent or a person instructing the child has ever been convicted of domestic violence or child abuse or neglect."

This is a slippery slope here. There are so many loopholes here that could allow DHS to deny your request to home educate. It does not say just an abuse or neglect CONVICTION, it includes a PENDING INVESTIGATION. We have witnessed through the past 30 years parents who have been turned in by unhappy grandparents, nosy neighbors, vengeful ex-spouses, or even a disgruntled child, causing an INVESTIGATION into their home life and home education. However, this is not limited to just the parents. It includes all the people on the list you had to turn in with your letter of intent. Get the wrong DHS worker and your request can be denied. All it takes is an accusation. 

Simply put, if there is even an accusal of neglect or abuse associated with ANY person involved in the child's home education you will be denied the right to educate your child. 

Paragraph K

"If the request for home-based educational instruction is denied by the Department, an explanation for the denial shall be furnished in writing to the applicant by the Department."

Well, at least if they deny your request, they will have to tell you why it was denied. But, this makes me curious if there are other reasons other than those listed in Paragraph J that can be used to deny your request? It is not clear.

Overall, this is a horribly invasive and unnecessary bill. It is beyond governmental overreach and has absolutely nothing to do with education. We have been in contact with numerous legislators who agaree with our findings and believe this bill needs to be tortured and die. The author, Rep. Swope was also contacted and asked if homeschoolers would have to identify themselves if this bill passes. 

Amanda replied, “Yes that’s correct. With the correct language, all families that choose homeschooling will need to notify the state.”

She was also asked how will this surveillance be enforced once the state has a list of homeschool families? Would the state have access to homeschool children? In what ways? What would the state do if denied access to our children? There was no response to those questions. 

Rep. Olsen spoke with the attorney who wrote the legislation and his conclusion was that this was a over invasive bill and the intent was deeper than just getting home educators registered. 

While we do not believe that there are enough legislators who would get behind this to get it passed, we can't assume it will not. We need to stand up for our right to home educate and keep DHS out of our homes. 

We will post comments from HSLDA when we receive them. 

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C Y
C Y
Feb 03

I pulled all 3 of my kids at Thanksgiving break several years ago. It all started with my youngest who was in 2nd grade. He had behavioral problems, not to bad, in K and 1st grades. He's ADHD and ever year at the end of the year I was promised that he'd have a great teacher for the next year that would know how to handle him because the teacher was experienced. And every year he didn't get that teacher because we weren't a football family and long term residents to the area. The teacher started bullying him to the point he was having severe anxiety and throwing up before school; every day. I got several calls a day about…

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John Doerr
John Doerr
Jan 26

I have been homeschooling my children for 6 years, here in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. I pulled my kids from Del City Elementary school, because during the course of one year, the district hired 2 pedophiles, who had harmed children in 4th and 5th grade classes, later terminating them after their antics came to light. I also had disputes with the teachers who told outright lies about my oldest son, as well as punished my oldest daughter for being consistently finished with her work early, and decided to draw, outside of "drawing time". She was trying to keep herself occupied and quiet, which is what I taught her to do if she was finished early, instead was told to sit down…

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