January 30, 2019

Opponents of Homeschooling Call for Regulation

Last year, I wrote a response to a call by an out-of-state group for stricter regulation of homeschooling in Texas. This group sought to capitalize on a horrible situation involving a homeschool graduate in Texas, arguing that it justified regulation of Texas families.

This same group is now arguing for more regulation in Michigan, claiming once again that children would be safer if homeschooling was regulated.

The Mackinac Center for Public Policy responded with the same arguments that we’ve been making: the evidence for the problem which they say exists simply is not there. Furthermore, their solution would make matters worse for many law-abiding families.

The bogus allegation that allowing families freedom to homeschool without government restrictions somehow endangers children is entirely unsupported by the facts. In reality, the data indicates that abuse or neglect among homeschool families is less likely than among other families.

We believe that a loving family home is the best environment for children. As we continue to celebrate the freedom that families have in Texas, our team in Austin is on the ground full time interfacing with legislators and making sure that groups advocating regulation for homeschoolers get no traction in Texas.

Please pray for us and sign up for updates to stay informed. Text TXHOMESCHOOL to 919191 to receive updates on issues that affect the freedom of families to raise their children.

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January 22, 2019

Europe Rules Against Homeschooling

Germany’s opposition to homeschooling continues. The European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) in France struck down an appeal by a German family who had their children removed from their care in 2013 for homeschooling. The same court has previously supported Germany’s right to deny families the freedom to teach their children at home.

Germany says families do not have the right to homeschool and they fear that families might undermine the country by creating a parallel culture.

In 2013, 33 police officers and seven youth officials stormed the family’s home, removed the children and placed them in a children’s home for three weeks.

The court ruled that “enforcement of compulsory school attendance, to prevent social isolation of the applicants’ children and ensure their integration into society, was a relevant reason for justifying the partial withdrawal of parental authority.”

Yes, the court said that Germany was justified in taking children from parents to prevent them from homeschooling—to make sure they weren’t isolated and they were properly integrated into society. How often do homeschoolers hear the socialization question?

Germany believes the state rather than families should make decisions for children, and there are those in Europe who believe that at large. After all, the ECHR is located in France.

This is just another example of why families are more and more concerned about the growing mentality that the state should control the children rather than families.

THSC believes that families have a God-given right to raise their children as they see fit … not the state. Sign up for our legislative updates to stay informed about issues related to homeschooling and the right of families to raise their children during the 2019 legislative session.

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January 15, 2019

Standing in the Gap (4 Hours of CPS Interrogation)

Between Christmas and New Year’s celebrations, we at THSC were reminded of that old saying that “the price of freedom is eternal vigilance”… or was it “no good deed goes unpunished?”

A THSC member family called us after they were contacted by Child Protective Services (CPS). They anticipated this when a counselor whom they had sent their son to for help had asked if his parents spanked him. She raised her eyebrows when he said yes.

She followed up with the question of whether those spankings ever left a mark. When the child answered that sometimes it did, she said, “That’s child abuse.”

In response to their call, THSC attorney Chris Branson gave this member family extensive legal counsel on how to prepare for potential problems. On a day when most families were still enjoying their Christmas break, the family, with a THSC attorney present, spent four hours being interrogated by a CPS caseworker.

I’m happy to say that it looks like that will be the end of the investigation.

This family, like most of us, never thought something like this would happen to them, but it did.

It was a traumatic situation, especially for the children who were afraid they would be taken from their home. However, our staff and legal counsel helped this family understand the law and gave them comfort that they had done nothing wrong. We were with them throughout the ordeal, even during the holidays.

I am so grateful for THSC members and donors who make it possible for THSC to stand in the gap for families like the one I just described. We stand in the gap with information, intervention with state and federal agencies, and, when necessary, legal representation.

I can’t emphasize this enough:

This is all because we are supported by members, donors and prayer warriors who believe as we do that families have a God-given right to raise their children as they see fit.

CPS Reform: A Top Priority in Austin

I’m about to join our legislative team in Austin for the 86th Texas Legislative Session and one of the items on our agenda is legislation to reform CPS and protect innocent families. We’ll also be on the lookout for legislation that would be detrimental to Texas families.

To quote another favorite saying, “No man’s life, liberty or property is safe while the legislature is in session.”

Thanks again for your prayers and support. Sign up for updates as events develop in Austin.

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January 8, 2019

Battle for Free Speech

THSC has sued the Texas Ethics Commission (TEC) in two lawsuits since 2014. In 2014 this rogue agency refused to clarify ambiguous rules regulating what non-profits like THSC could do when participating in “political speech.” TEC’s refusal to clarify the rules meant that TEC potentially had the ability to regulate what THSC can say or do.

The landmark Citizens United U.S. Supreme Court decision in 2010 upheld the First Amendment right of non-profit groups to express opinions in political campaigns. However, the TEC’s rules were specifically designed to intimidate non-profit groups into avoiding political speech out of fear of regulation.

What’s the real story?

Intimidation Begins

In 2015, the TEC began a year-long discussion to adopt more rules that would have resulted in more intimidation and the chilling of free speech. The TEC refused to listen to concerns raised by our legal counsel and instead insisted in a public meeting that they would simply pass the rules and “let the courts sort it out.”

The agency’s proposed rules were so ridiculous that one version would have required non-profits like THSC to report volunteer hours and office expenses that were connected with THSC’s election work as if they were monetary political expenditures.

These rules would have inflated THSC’s actual political expenditures by more than 200 percent, putting THSC above a spending threshold that would require the disclosure of all THSC members to the state and to the public.

That’s not all…

In the meantime, the TEC pursued actions against another non-profit that went on for over four years. The agency abruptly dropped its suit when arguments went so badly before the 3rd Court of Appeals that the agency had to scramble to avoid a negative ruling from the court.

What next?

THSC went to court in Austin in 2016 to challenge the TEC’s unconstitutional rules and appealed the ruling of the Austin court who dismissed the case. In November of 2017, we appealed to the 3rd Court of Appeals after the District Court in Austin rejected the case.

A year later, the 3rd Court of Appeals stated that THSC and other non-profits could not be pursued as political action committees because they did not meet the statutory definition of such groups, and dismissed the case. This ruling protects all non-profits who participate in political speech like THSC.

THSC’s ability to defend freedom for Texas families depends on our ability to speak openly about what the state is doing to threaten those freedoms. Sign up for our updates to receive notifications about what threats and opportunities are coming during the 2019 legislative session.

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