Update on UN Disabilities Treaty

Please be aware of the new court hearing!!!

Dear FHE (Families for Home Education) Members and Friends,

 Another US Senate Foreign Relations Committee hearing on the UN Convention on Rights of Persons with Disabilities is set for next Tuesday, Nov. 12, 2013. Please continue to call your US Senators urging them to oppose the UNCRPD treaty. For detailed information see Michael Farris’ Report on yesterday’s hearing below.

 We must not be “weary in well doing”. The opposition is determined to push this treaty to ratification.

 Senator Roy Blunt– (202) 224-5721

Senator Claire McCaskill- (202)224-6154

Thank you for your continued support, calls and prayers for this very important issue,

Al and Sheryl Schmidt for the Families for Home Education Board

FHE Assistant Executive Director/

FHE Region 6 East Director

417-859-7908

1-877-696-6343 ext. 62

fheregion6east@gmail.com

www.fhe-mo.org

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Report from Yesterday’s Senate Hearing on the 

UN Disabilities Treaty—Politics of Personal Destruction

Yesterday, I testified against the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (UNCRPD) before the U.S. Senate’s Foreign Relations Committee. During this hearing, it became clear that the Democrat senators on the committee weren’t interested in hearing how this dangerous United Nations treaty could harm our freedoms. Instead, this hearing showed that the senators leading the charge to ratify this treaty have decided to take a page from the far left’s playbook and will stop at nothing to vilify and destroy anyone who has concerns with the UNCRPD.

Dr. Susan Yoshihara from C-FAM and I were the only witnesses against the UNCRPD. There were five witnesses in support of the treaty, and one neutral witness who generally supported the treaty but thought more RUDs (written reservations) were needed. Two of the witnesses, Senator Mark Kirk (IL) and Kelly Ayotte (NH), are sitting senators.

False Trail

After we gave our introductory remarks, the personal attacks began. Senator Barbara Boxer (CA), the second most senior Democrat senator on the committee, asked me if HSLDA or ParentalRights.org has ever raised money during our battle against UN control over children and families with disabilities. Instead of asking her if she had ever raised money during her campaigns for U.S. Senate, or whether any of the pro-UNCRPD organizations raise money for their fight, I explained that HSLDA is funded by you, our members. ParentalRights.org is funded solely by donations.

Senator Boxer’s attack, however, was not really against me or HSLDA. It was against you, and every other homeschool family who has ever supported HSLDA because you believe in our mission to defend the God-given right of parents, not faceless bureaucrats, to care for and educate our children. Senator Boxer thinks that your membership in HSLDA and your support of our critical work to defend homeschooling, support widows and single parents through the Home School Foundation, and the work of ParentalRights.org to pass a constitutional amendment makes you an evil special interest that must be vilified and defeated.

Next, Senator Dick Durbin (IL), another senior Democrat on the committee, falsely argued that HSLDA’s position is that the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) is the threat to homeschool freedom. The fact is that HSLDA strongly supports the ADA and other laws advancing the freedom and dignity of persons with disabilities which our democratically elected representatives have passed. What’s more, the UNCRPD would actually threaten parental rights which are enshrined in the IDEA. I explained to him that it was the UNCRPD, not the ADA, which was the threat. He ignored me and persisted in stating that HSLDA believes the ADA was the threat. Logic teachers call this a straw man argument, which is used by people who do not wish to debate the merits of an issue.

And finally, near the end of the hearing, Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman Bob Menendez (NJ) said, by way of dismissing HSLDA’s legal arguments about how the UNCRPD is binding under international law, “I appreciate that you have an LLM from London which is as I understand from a distance learning course….” The room packed with supporters of the treaty burst out in rude and loud laughter, forcing Chairman Menendez to gavel the room to order.

Avoiding the Facts

Again, while this was a personal attack aimed at me intended to sideline my arguments, Chairman Menendez was admitting that he had no response to HSLDA’s arguments about the dangers of the UNCRPD and international law. He showed that he will resort to petty, silly, and personal attacks rather than substance.

This battle is about one thing: who will make the laws for the United States? Our democratically elected representatives? Or UN treaty law? Homeschoolers know that they cannot trust the United Nations to protect the freedom of loving parents to raise their children. And any honest American understands that the UN cannot be trusted to preserve and protect our nation’s sovereignty and fundamental freedoms which have been bought with the blood of patriots through the centuries.

It is ironic that President Obama, Secretary Kerry, and the other politicians who are promising us that the UNCRPD will not threaten parental rights, homeschool freedom, and our nation’s sovereignty, are the same politicians who promised us that if we like our healthcare insurance, we can keep it. They’ve been proven wrong. We cannot let them win this time when our children’s future is on the line.

This is a tough battle. The senators who are trying to ram the UNCRPD down our nation’s throat will stop at nothing to destroy anyone who stands in their way. Please pray. And please call your senators and urge them to reject this UN treaty. Your calls made the difference last time. By the grace of God, they will make the difference this time.

Contact Your Senators

You can reach your senators by calling the Capitol Switchboard at 202-224-3121, by using our legislative toolbox to type your address and find their contact info, or by using HSLDA’s emailing tool to send a prewritten letter to your senators by filling out your information online.

Please call right now and keep calling, and please also forward this email to your friends. You can visit HSLDA’s action page here to learn more about the CRPD, and you can read the text of the CRPD here.

Standing with you for Liberty,

http://images.response.hslda.org/EloquaImages/clients/HSLDA/%7b1c9e6bc2-3d26-408b-a453-e28e7390fc89%7d_Mike_Farris_Signature.bmp

 Michael P. Farris, JD, LLM

Chairman, HSLDA

P.S. The Senate’s Foreign Relations Committee will hold another hearing on the UNCRPD on Tuesday, November 12. We do not yet know when it will come up for a vote in the Committee, but it will likely be very soon. We will send out more information as soon as we have more details. Finally, even though Senator Boxer doesn’t want you supporting the battle against the UNCRPD and for U.S. sovereignty, you can donate if you wish.

 

Protect Your Family: We greatly value you and your support—it is a privilege to serve you. Thank you for all you do for freedom! If you or someone you know is not a member of HSLDA, will you consider taking a moment today to join or recommend us? Your support enables us to defend individual families threatened by government officials and protect homeschooling freedom for all. Join now >>

 

Sale on constitution curriculum next week!

Celebrate Constitution Day: Lowest prices of the year on three great products to learn about the Constitution.
We’re celebrating the U.S. Constitution with savings:
September 16–22!

Take advantage of the lowest prices of the year on these resources:

 

Registration with the district to homeschool is not necessary

The following reminder was sent to me this morning.  Remember to sign up with HSLDA (Home School Legal Defense Association) and FHE (Families for Home Education) to receive important updates about your homeschooling rights!!  If you are part of a local homeschool community many times you may obtain a discount on your membership with either groups by showing your membership card. 

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Greetings fellow home educators,
As the school year approaches, FORMS from school districts are surfacing in home educators’ mailboxes . These forms come with the request that parents fill out all the information and thereby register their homeschool with the district.  Some parents, uncertain of their legal rights and understandably loathe to bring trouble on themselves, hasten to comply.
It seems like a logical time to address this perennial problem. MISSOURI LAW DOES NOT REQUIRE THAT YOU REGISTER WITH YOUR SCHOOL DISTRICT.
In recent years, school districts around the state have really stepped up their efforts to deceive (and I do not use that term lightly) home educating parents into believing that registration on an annual basis is required by the state.
This is an absolute falsehood. In fact, every time the school lawyers are contacted by HSLDA lawyers, they back down.  I have a copy of a letter that Scott Woodruff sent to the Ashland school district a few years ago.  Upon receiving Woodruff’s letter, the school quietly stopped harassing parents for that school year.  However they resumed the campaign to persuade families to register the following year. They go so far as to put an advertisement in the Ashland paper, putting the burden on homeschool families to register in order to not be considered truant!
You can look up on the DESE website to see that they correctly state that home educators are not required to register with the school districts.  They underline the word “may”.
Unfortunately, there are too many parents who comply with the erroneous demands of school districts; it emboldens the district personnel to continue to create these forms and to harass home educators.
What is in it for them?  MONEY.  There is some sort of formula through which they can collect more money from the state if they can list home educated children in their district as having registered with them.  Additionally, there is no shortage of those in the state system who have philosophical objections to families not enrolling  children in public school.  It is a control issue.
Why is it in our best interest to resist their demands?  To retain jurisdiction over our own children and the education programs we choose.  If we concede that the state should have the right to oversee our homeschool programs, then we will lose our footing as free and independent “schools”.  We will inevitably slide down that slippery slope of losing freedoms.  We have already seen in the last decade how legislators have tried to introduce bills that would  infringe on our freedoms. Bills that would require * mandatory testing * state teacher certification for parents *common core curriculum for all etc. etc.  It is not passé to be at the ready to defend our rights to choose home education!
Pleas KNOW the Missouri statute pertaining to compulsory school and particularly the section directly pertaining to home education.
If you feel obligated to respond to the school district in one way or another, having received a form,  then consider writing a letter — similar to the withdrawal letter sample offered on FHE website.  Craft your letter so that your message is not misconstrued as registration; it is merely notification of intent to homeschool, it verifies that you are familiar with the state statues and will comply; your children are not truant. You do not have to give names and ages of children.  You do not have to re-notify them on an annual basis. 
Thanks for defending your right, and the rights of all homeschoolers now and in the future. By all means, spread the word to homeschool families who may not be a part of your local support group.

More help needed for the Romeikes’ family and homeschooling rights!!

The following is a letter from the HSLDA organization:

Dear Members and friends,

HSLDA has sent an urgent request for immediate action.

The Romeikes family, who fled to the United States to escape persecution from the German government for home schooling their children were granted asylum by U.S. Immigration Judge Lawrence O. Burman  on January 26, 2010. Unfortunately,the United States Board of Immigration Appeals (BIA) overturned Judge Burman’s decision on May 4, 2012. HSLDA has appealed that decision to the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals and oral arguments are scheduled to be heard April 23, 2012.

This decision is not only important for the Romeikes family, but to our own home school freedom in the United States. Michael  Smith, HSLDA president says, “If the Sixth Circuit agrees with the government, this could be a major blow to U.S. homeschooling freedom.”

Please take time to:

1. Sign the White House petition at  https://petitions.whitehouse.gov/petition/immediate-action-requested-romeikes%E2%80%94grant-permanent-legal-status-persecuted-german-homeschool-family/06vqtgCp?m=t

2. Pray for the Romeikes family  and Michael Farris as he prepares and presents the oral arguments.

 

See more information below on signing the White House petition, back ground information, and how this issue could impact our U.S. homeschool freedoms.

Al and Sheryl Schmidt for the FHE Board

FHE Region 6 East Directors

417-859-7908

1-877-696-6343 ext. 62

fheregion6east@gmail.com

www.fhe-mo.org

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Message from HSLDA (http://www.hslda.org/legal/cases/romeike.asp?page=1)

 

Take a #Stand4Romeike

To raise awareness of the Romeikes plight, HSLDA is engaged in a massive social media campaign to petition the White House on behalf of the family.

We initiated this White House petition because we believe that it is one of the most effective ways to help the Romeike family for the following reasons:

1.  The White House responds to any petition that receives 100,000 signatures in 30 days.

                2.  The Obama administration has the authority to grant the Romeikes asylum.

                3.  Using an official White House petition encourages everyone to take this issue seriously.

The only required fields on the White House form are the name and email address of the person signing the petition. Zip code is optional. The government has already gathered as much or more personal information than this from those who file tax returns, have a bank account, or have a Social Security number. Many individuals establish “public sphere” email accounts, reserving their primary account for personal coorespondence.

U.S. Government Seeks to Deport German Homeschool Family

In August 2008, Uwe and Hannelore Romeike fled from Germany to the United States after their family was persecuted for homeschooling. Fleeing exorbitant fines, the threat of forcible removal of their children, and possible imprisonment, the Romeikes were initially granted political asylum in the U.S.

The United States Government Agency for Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) disagreed and appealed to the Board of Immigration Appeals, which reversed, ordering the Romeikes to be deported. Home School Legal Defense Association is appealing their case to the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals. Oral arguments are scheduled for April 23, 2013. HSLDA has also initiated a petition asking the Obama administration to grant the Romeikes permanent legal status.

Fleeing for Freedom

On a trip to Germany in 2007, HSLDA Director for International Affairs Mike Donnelly learned that the Romeikes were being fined thousands of dollars and that the authorities were preparing to bring an action to put a lien on their home for payment of the fines. “I knew that this was only a starting point,” Donnelly said, “and that it was very likely that more severe action would eventually be taken, since homeschooling is illegal in Germany. Uwe told me that he and Hanne thought that they might have to leave their country.”

Donnelly has been working on the Romeikes’ case from the beginning and called the family’s actions heroic. “This is a family who gave up almost everything for a shot at freedom to homeschool,” he said. “Uwe is a piano teacher by trade and sold his grand piano to fund his family’s escape.”

The Romeike family arrived the U.S. in August 2008 with only what they could carry. Local homeschoolers gave them a warm welcome and helped them find a place to live.

A Safe Haven

During the nearly two years it took for the Romeikes’ asylum application to come before a judge, the Romeikes continued to homeschool and began building a life for themselves in Tennessee.

Uwe recalls their January 20, 2010, hearing: “It was difficult to hear the government’s attorney go against us. As he was making his closing argument, I kept feeling lower and lower because he was explaining all the reasons why the judge shouldn’t grant us asylum.”

The family was elated when U.S. Immigration Judge Lawrence O. Burman granted them asylum on January 26, 2010. In his groundbreaking decision, the judge found that homeschoolers are a persecuted particular social group in Germany and that the German government’s actions frustrated the Romeikes’ religious convictions for homeschooling.

“The decision was an extraordinary recognition of the fundamental importance of the right of parents to raise their children according to the dictates of individual conscience,” said HSLDA Director of Litigation Jim Mason, who helped write HSLDA’s appeal. “Judge Burman noted that the rights being denied the Romeikes were ‘basic human rights that no country has a right to violate.’ ”

U.S. Immigration Reverses Asylum

However, on May 4, 2012, the United States Board of Immigration Appeals (BIA) overturned Judge Burman’s decision.

The BIA agreed with the government’s argument that U.S. law recognizes the “broad power of the state to prohibit or regulate homeschooling.” ICE took the position that Germany’s harsh treatment of homeschoolers is merely prosecution, not persecution. HSLDA is appealing to United States Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals.

ICE’s Dangerous Views of our Freedom

HSLDA chairman and constitutional attorney Michael Farris noted three troubling arguments in the government’s response to HSLDA’s appeal.

“First, the United States argued that a nation violates no one’s rights by banning homeschooling,” Farris said.

“Second, the government contended that the Romeikes’ case failed to show there was any discrimination based on religion because, among other reasons, the Romeikes did not prove that all homeschoolers are religious or that all Christians believe they must homeschool.

“However,” said Farris, “religious freedom is an individual right. One need not be a part of any church or other religious group to be able to make a religious freedom claim.”

The third troubling point Farris identified is that one of the grounds for U.S. asylum is if persecution is aimed at a “particular social group.” The definition of a “particular social group” requires a showing of an “immutable” characteristic that cannot change or should not be required to be changed, he said.

Arguing that homeschoolers are too vague or amorphous to be a social group, the government also said that since there are many different reasons people homeschool, homeschooling is not immutable. The government asserted that parents can easily change their educational choice by sending their children to public or private school. Echoing arguments from the German constitutional court that has upheld Germany’s ban on home education, the U.S. argued that children are only in school 22-26 hours a week and parents can teach whatever they want outside public school hours.

“There are two main problems with this argument,” Farris explained.

“The first is that our government does not understand that families like the Romeikes have two goals when they choose homeschooling. They want to teach their children certain things, and they want to avoid having their children taught certain things. Sending their children to school would violate this second goal.”

“And finally,” said Farris, “no one contends that homeschooling is a characteristic that cannot be changed. We simply contend that in a free nation, this is a characteristic that should not be required to be changed.”

What Does this Mean for U.S. Homeschoolers?

Although U.S. education laws are controlled by the states and this case is being decided in the immigration context, Farris is concerned that the logic behind the government’s arguments could eventually be applied to all American homeschoolers.

“When the United States government says that homeschooling is a mutable choice, it is saying that a government can legitimately coerce you to change this choice,” Farris said. “In other words, you have no protected right to choose what type of education your children will receive. We should understand that in these arguments by the U.S. government, something important is being said about the liberties of American homeschoolers.”

The Romeikes are certain to face some form of government persecution if they are forced to return to Germany. Judge Burman wrote that the United States could be a place of refuge for the Romeikes. Regrettably, the Obama administration doesn’t agree.

If you join with HSLDA in defending this family, you join us to defend all homeschooling families. Please keep HSLDA’s legal team in your thoughts and prayers as they defend the Romeikes.

We also urge you to sign the petition asking the government to grant them permanent legal status.

 

Senate Rejects Ratification of UN Disabilities Treaty!!!!

Please note the email below….  While at this time the treaty has not been passed, I would like to take the time to encourage you to enroll in HSLDA services, not only be aware and alert of changing laws and treaties but if you find yourself in a situation where you need legal help for your schooling needs or rights, they will assist you.  I pay a small monthly fee for their services should I ever need them or you can receive a homeschool discount on your annual membership price for being a part of a group in your area.

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From the HSLDA E-lert Service…
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Senate Rejects Ratification of UN Disabilities Treaty

Dear HSLDA Members and Friends,

Due to your calls, emails, and office visits, the Senate minority
stood strong and ratification of the UN Convention on the Rights of
Persons with Disabilities (CRPD) was rejected by the U.S. Senate a
short time ago.

The CRPD, which would take away American sovereignty and threaten
parental rights, needed two-thirds of the Senate in order to pass.
Although it gained a majority of votes, it failed on a vote of 61-38.
This is a great victory for parental rights, homeschool freedom, and
children with special needs. The U.S. Senate rejected a treaty which
would have allowed UN bureaucrats to decide what is in the “best
interests” of children with disabilities, instead leaving those
decisions with parents and caregivers, which is what existing U.S. law
already requires. Visit http://www.hslda.org/elink.asp?id=16434 to
find out why HSLDA opposed this treaty.

We encourage you to visit http://www.hslda.org/elink.asp?id=16435 to
find out how your senators voted, and please send them an email of
thanks (this information will be posted in a few hours, but we wanted
to let you know this good news right now).

Yet despite this victory, the battle is not over.  This treaty and
other dangerous UN treaties can come up at any time. We must stay
informed and be ready at any moment to take action again.   Without a
Parental Rights Amendment to the U.S. Constitution which would
supersede these treaties, we are susceptible to these constant attacks
against our rights as Americans and the right the raise our children
how we see fit. You can find out more about the Parental Rights
Amendment at http://www.hslda.org/elink.asp?id=16436 .

Thank you again to all of you who took action against this treaty and
special thanks to those of you in the Congressional Action Program
(CAP) who came out to Washington, D.C. to lobby senators against the
CRPD.

Sincerely,

J. Michael Smith
HSLDA President

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Phone: (540) 338-5600
Fax: (540) 338-2733
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Web: http://www.hslda.org

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Treaty vote extended to December 4th!!!

The following is from our friends at HSLDA. As a service to a sister organization, we are passing this information on to you as we received it. 

 

We have just received word that the U.S. Senate will hold a straight up-or-down vote on Tuesday, December 4, on whether or not the United States should ratify the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD). If two-thirds of the senators present vote yes, the United States will ratify this UN treaty.

 

HSLDA has never opposed the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). HSLDA has never opposed the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA). But we oppose the CRPD for the simple principle that Americans should make the law for America. It is wrong for the United States to ratify a United Nations treaty that will give up our sovereignty to unelected, unaccountable UN bureaucrats.

 

We have been told that the pro-CRPD side is waging one of the most aggressive, organized lobbying campaigns ever. The U.S. State Department and Obama administration officials are pressuring individual senators to support the CRPD. It is crucial that senators on our side hear from you, your friends, your family, and from anyone who opposes giving the UN power over our nation, and over our precious children and family members who have disabilities.

 

Please call your two U.S. senators today, Monday, and Tuesday. You can reach them through the Capitol Switchboard at 202-224-3121, or you can find your senators’ phone numbers by typing in your ZIP code here.

 

Senators Lee (UT), Toomey (PA), Paul (KY), and DeMint (SC) are leading the charge to stop the CRPD, so it is not necessary to call them. We are confident that the  other 32 Republican senatorswho opposed moving to debate on the CRPD on Monday will also vote against the treaty, but we believe that you should call them anyway to encourage them in the face of strong opposition.

 

Please give them some or all of this message:

 

“I urge you to oppose the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities. This treaty surrenders U.S. sovereignty to unelected UN bureaucrats and will threaten parental care of children with disabilities. Our nation already has laws to protect disabled Americans. This treaty is unnecessary and will hurt families. If the Senate ratifies this treaty, it would be the first time ever that the U.S. has ratified a treaty that obligates us to recognize economic, social, and cultural entitlements as rights under domestic law.”

 

Then, please forward this email to your friends and family and urge them to also call.Please also post this information on social media to help get the word out to every parent and freedom-loving person in America.

 

For more information on the dangers of this treaty please visit our CRPD page. There are three full business days left to defeat this treaty and preserve U.S. sovereignty and parental rights. Please keep calling. And please keep praying.

 

For Liberty,

 

Michael P. Farris, Esq., LL.M.
Founder and Chairman, HSLDA