YUCCA VALLEY, Calif. - Yucca Valley homeschooling mother Michelle Huelle strongly opposes a bill proposed at the state capitol in Sacramento.
AB 2756 calls for requiring fire marshals to inspect every homeschool in the state every year.
"Its a public official entering my home to make sure I'm safe enough to have children, and I found that offensive," said Huelle.
The bill is sponsored by Riverside Assemblyman, Democrat Jose Medina.
In a news release, he said the new law is necessary to "tighten up" state regulations for homeschools.
Medina introduced the bill after charges were brought against David and Louise Turpin. the Perris couple accused of torturing and shackling their children, at a home in the Assemblyman's district.
The thirteen siblings are now recovering with the help of professional caretakers.
"They talk about how loving these kids are, and so appreciative. Some of them have never seen a toothbrush," said Corona Mayor, Karen Spiegel.
Under current law, home schools in California are largely unregulated, and are only required to register with the state as "private schools", and no state, local, or county officials check conditions of home schools.
But, Huelle, who has homeschooled her two oldest children, and now homeschools her 15-year-old son, joins state and national homeschooling advocates in calling AB 2756 "unconstitutional", saying it would allow "invasions of privacy". She also asserts private homes should not be subject to government inspections without reason.
"We're supposed to be innocent until proven guilty. No one is committing a crime by keeping their children out of the public schools," said Huelle.
Initially, Assemblymember Medina agreed to our request for an on-camera interview for this report. But, two days before the interview, we received an email from his communications director, which read in part, "unfortunately the Assemblymember is no longer available to accommodate the interview we scheduled".
Medina's biggest campaign contributors include a handful of California teachers' unions, who oppose homeschooling.
"To me, it seems like they're just trying to make it look like they're doing something to protect children, this is not protecting children," said Huelle.
We also requested interviews with other assembly members to talk about ab 2756 .. but were turned down by the bill's co-author Freddie Rodriguez, and bill sponsors Susan Eggman and Lorena Gonzalez Fletcher.
The "California Homeschool Network", in opposing the measure, said, "there is no evidence to support the claim that homeschooled children are more at risk for abuse than any other children, and homes, where children are homeschooling, are certainly not at greater risk for fire than any other home".
Huelle describes AB 2756 as a "backdoor law", believing it could clear the way for stricter state laws that would effectively shut down homeschooling in California.
"Homes shouldn't be regulated," said Huelle.
AB 2756 is currently "in committee", and a date has not been set for when the state assembly will vote on the measure.
The number of homeschoolers in California is estimated at just under two hundred thousand children.
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