DETROIT – A pair of liberal Detroit politicians want to require all homeschool families in the state to submit to twice yearly compliance reviews in response to a mother who allegedly killed her two children.
State Rep. Stephanie Chang, D-Detroit, made a joint announcement last week with Detroit councilwoman Mary Sheffield about legislation soon to be introduced that would require all homeschool families in the state to submit to meetings twice per year with the police, or other “community representatives,” ClickonDetroit reports.
“As we know, many who homeschool their children to a fine job educating their children. But we can, and must, do better to ensure that every child is accounted for and not leave anyone behind,” Chang said.
Chang pointed to Mitchelle Blair, who police said tortured and abused her two children for years before murdering the children and stuffing them in a deep freezer. Blair had previously removed the children from school and told authorities she was homeschooling them.
The children – Stoni Blair, 13, and 8-year-old Stephen Berry – were discovered in Mitchelle Blair’s Detroit home last month, and authorities believe they had been in the freezer for years, according to ABC 7.
“I believe this bill not only will have a part in monitoring children’s education … in some cases, save lives,” said John Bliar, the children’s grandfather. “I believe this bill is the start of fixing things that have been needed in Michigan for years.”
Beyond the twice yearly visits, Chang’s yet-to-be-introduced bill would also require parents who homeschool their children to provide students’ names and ages to local education officials, as well as the name and address of each child’s parent or guardian, according to WNDU.com.
“Michigan is one of only 11-states that does not require parents homeschooling their children to initiate to any contact with the state about the kids being homeschooled,” Chang told ABC 7.
Many people told the media they believe Chang’s effort is misguided.
“I have a problem with it because the whole premise of the legislation assumes there is something wrong with people who homeschool,” homeschool mother Rhonda Smith told the news site.
Nearly everyone who commented about the legislation online thought it was a bad idea that doesn’t address the real issues in the Blair case.
“This has nothing to do with homeschooling a child,” Bob-Melody Myrand posted to Facebook. “It is a sad ‘knee jerk’ reaction by everyone who should have been looking out for this child.”
“The fact that this lady killed her children had nothing to do with the fact that they were homeschooled. There are bad homeschool parents; there are bad public school parents,” Tamera Hamilton Svanes wrote.
Stacy Frost questioned why the children’s relatives, like John Blair, didn’t question why the children were missing for two years.
“This has nothing to do with homeschooling. There are so many adults to blame in this and none of them wants to take responsibility. Why did the grandfather or fathers of these children not call to have a welfare check done on these kids?” Frost wrote.
“They hadn’t seen them in 2 years! They want to blame everyone else but themselves.”