To the Editor:
My name is Angie (McGaugh) Schutt. I’m a Licensed Social Worker and homeschooling mom of five.
My husband and I graduated from Huron High School. Mr. Nebelsick was our principal and I still have great respect and admiration for him and the many challenges he’s faced over the years in the public school system.
Mr. Nebelsick and Senator Wheeler have both expressed concern that Senate Bill 177, which would reduce the school district’s authority over home-schooling families, will leave children at a greater risk for physical abuse and educational neglect. As a former Child Protection Social Worker, this claim caused me stop and thoroughly examine the current law and the proposed bill. After much consideration I’ve concluded that this allegation is absolutely unfounded. In fact, SB177 provides a safety net that doesn’t exist under the current law.
At this time, S.D. law allows each school district to set its own requirements regarding home-schoolers’ participation in extra-curricular activities. Many school districts do not allow participation whatsoever. SB177 would allow home-schooled children the ability to freely take part in extracurricular activities. This involvement would place the children in contact with mandatory reporters - coaches, music directors etc. - on a regular basis.
Opponents of the bill are careful to clarify that their concern is not with the families who take home-schooling seriously, but for children already struggling with truancy in the public school system.
They fear that those parents may abuse the system and “home-school” just to escape consequences. These potential situations should not be the excuse for limiting our parental freedom to choose the best educational path for our children. Nor should our children be forced to choose between their education and the benefits of tax-funded extracurricular activities. Please join with me and ask our legislators to support Senate Bill 177.