A government proposal that is being described as "anti-parent" is threatening to overwhelm a small team of parents in Scotland who are dedicated to fighting the "Children and Young People Bill," and they are asking for help from fellow homeschoolers worldwide.
According to a report from the Home School Legal Defense Association, the bill "would assign a government social worker to 'promote, support or safeguard the wellbeing' of every child from birth."
That "named person" would have great authority to order what the child – and parents – must do throughout life, regarding schooling, health, social activities and the like.
It's part of an initiative that calls for "Getting it Right for Every Child."
"The national homeschooling association in Scotland, 'Schoolhouse,' has told HSLDA that the proposed bill that would rewrite the Scottish child protection system is bad for all families but would certainly target of home educating families. The group is asking American home educators to help them oppose this Orwellian legislation."
HSLDA Chairman Michael Farris said the bill is the most invasive and "anti-parent" that he's ever seen.
According to the HSLDA, Alison Preuss, secretary of Schoolhouse and longtime home educating parent, explains that the proposal as written is not only draconian but may be illegal, violating data protection laws in the United Kingdom and the European Union.
"Home educating families and others who make less conventional, but lawful, parenting choices are already being targeted under the current implementation of GIRFEC, and this bill would guarantee further intrusion," said Preuss. "We know of several home educating families who have had difficulties with the authorities simply because they choose not to use the school system. This new law would violate family privacy and civil liberties, result in the unfair targeting of home educating families and other minority groups, and is completely contrary to the values of a free society."
Critics say the bill shifts the fundamental concept of government. Instead of offering help to families if there's evidence of a need, it injects government as the controlling decision-maker in the family.
Preuss said, "The collection and sharing of personal data breaches both the UK Data Protection Act and Article 8 of the European Convention on Human Rights. Furthermore, the 'named person' requirement of the bill should operate as an opt-in, similar to the current 'health visiting service' that the government provides. Unfortunately, many families in Scotland – not just those who home educate – have already experienced issues as officials are implementing policy related to this provision which isn't even legislation yet. Some have been hounded by professionals who refuse to go away, interfere into family life without legitimate reasons, and seek to mislead families about their parenting choices."
Will Estrada, director of federal relations for the HSLDA, notes the idea is just an outgrowth of the general belief at organizations such as the United Nations that government knows best for everyone, at all times.
"This is an example of why HSLDA opposes ratification of [various] U.N. treaties. The argument that these treaties are mere altruistic expressions melts away when you look at what is happening in the legislatures of countries who ratify the treaties and try to live up to their treaty obligations. A 'named-person' for every child and national databases? No thanks," Estrada said.
Michael Donnelly, HSLDA director for international relations, said, "There is a growing global battle that all homeschoolers must be aware of and fight together – the idea that the state should decide how children are educated, contrary to the decision of parents.
"This Scottish bill shows what form such oppression can take. We see the results of such oppression in countries like Germany and Sweden, where parents are fined, threatened and their children taken over their choice to homeschool. Free people must stand together to defend the rights of families to make educational and other decisions without government interference," he said.
When WND reported earlier on the issue, it was noted that while the number of child-abuse cases in Scotland has remained about the same over the last five years, the situations that do develop have gotten increasing attention in the media.
The result was the government plan, under a new bill that was praised by the Aileen Campbell, the nation's minister for Children and Young People.
"This government's vision for children and young people is clear: We want Scotland to be the best place in the world for them to grow up," she said.
The proposal outlines that a social worker will look after and monitor the child to be certain the child's rights are not being violated based upon the standards of the United Nations Conference on the Rights of the Child.
"A local authority is to make arrangements for the provision of a named person service in relation to each child residing in its area … " the new proposal explains.
The idea is based upon the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child, which was adopted in 2008. Officials for a wide range of family and conservative groups in the United States have warned about the infringement on parental rights under the concept.
Parental rights groups in the U.S. warn that U.S. politicians could be walking the same course. The groups are proposing an amendment that specifically would guard parental rights and prevent the use of international laws to override liberties of families.
But they say parents need to be involved, suggesting families:
- Call lawmakers and urge them to preserve parental rights and family privacy. The Capitol Switchboard number is (202)-224-3121 or details are available at ParentalRights.org/States.
- Encourage members of Congress to become a cosponsor of the Parental Rights Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.