Monday, April 20, 2015

State Legislators Debate A State Registry For Kids

A Michigan State Representative Stephanie Chang, a Detroit
Rep Stephanie Chang (D)
Democrat, proposed legislation Friday to create a state registry of homes chooled students following the deaths of two Detroit children who were found in a freezer.

The law would require visits with children at least twice per year by someone such as a licensed social worker or law enforcement officer.

 The bill would also require that parents who want to homeschool their children provide their names and ages, along with the name and address of a parent or guardian, to the superintendent of the school district in which they reside.

Chang used the  case of Stoni Ann Blair and Stephen Gage Berry as a reason for planning the legislation. Investigators believe Stephen was 9 when he died in August 2012 and that Stoni was 13 when she died the following May. Their mother, who is accused of torturing and killing them and then stuffing their bodies in the freezer, had said she homeschooled them.

Senator Phil Pavlov (R)
“We all failed Stoni and Stephen because Michigan does not maintain a list of homeschooled children and so we have no way to identify and then protect any child who could be at risk for abuse,” Chang said. “Most homeschool parents have their child’s best interest in mind, and many do a fine job homeschooling, but with Stephen and Stoni, that wasn’t the case.”

She said the state must ensure that every child is accounted for.

Gov. Rick Snyder did not embrace the concept of a homeschool registry.

Today Senator Phil Pavlov, (R) St. Clair County,  made it clear that her bill would never leave committee as he wrote a letter to Michigan home school parents and posted it on his legislative web page. 

Dear Parents,
 Stoni Ann Blair and Stephen Gage Berry were precious children with limitless potential, and their senseless deaths at the hands of their mother have shocked and saddened the entire state of Michigan.
 Mitchelle Blair, the Detroit woman accused of killing Stoni and Stephen and then hiding their bodies, is a murderer who deserves, at best, to spend the rest of her life in prison.
 This tragic situation is not, and never was, however, a homeschooling problem.
 That’s why I am so dismayed by the introduction of a new bill in the state House of Representatives to exploit Stoni and Stephen’s tragic deaths as an excuse to impose new regulations on loving, committed, and law-abiding Michigan families.
 Let’s be clear-this legislation would not have stopped Ms. Blair from killing her children. Blair was willing to break every law on the books, and routinely and effectively lied for years to hide her crimes.
 Instead, the new bill is a transparent attempt by some in Lansing to bully, threaten, and intimidate parents who choose not to send their children to traditional public schools. The legislation would force every homeschooling family to register with local officials and to open their homes twice yearly for police inspections, to prove that they have not murdered their own children.
 Parents have rights. Parents deserve choices. And parents deserve so much better from Lansing.
 As the Chairman of the Senate Education Committee I wanted to write you today to assure you that this anti-parent legislation will not see the light of day in my Committee.
 Parents who choose homeschooling as the best education option for their children lovingly pour themselves into their kids, and they get great results. Homeschooled children are among the most successful in the state, go on to attend colleges and universities, get and keep great jobs, and help lead our communities.
 Every child learns differently, and no one understands the needs of a child like his or her parents. That’s why when it comes to making education decisions for their children, or for choosing the kind of education that will work best, Lansing should trust parents, not bully them.
 Senator Phil Pavlov
Chairman, Senate Education Committee

Phil Pavlov has announced that he will be running for Candice Miller's Congressional Seat in the 10th District. 

1 comment:

  1. It's really too bad that Sen. Pavlov won't even bring the proposed legislation up in committee. According to the freep, one child was killed in August 2012 and the other in May 2013. It seems like a home visit between these dates might have prevented the death of the second child.