Sara Valle, a longtime homeschooling mom in South Dakota, knew there were opponents of a legislative plan to provide homeschool students with access to certain public school options when she agreed to testify on behalf of the bill before the state legislature.

Now she knows those opponents will go to extremes.

It’s because a box-cutter blade was embedded in her tire at the state capitol while she was testifying so that her tire would deflate as soon as she started driving.

“I really had realized that the people opposing the bill were not going to play nice with us,” she said in a report by the Home School Legal Defense Association. “But I just didn’t realize that it would come in the form of stabbing my tire.

“I did not see that coming. It really made me feel unsafe … (especially) because two of my children are in public school. I’m around the schools, and I’m around these people – they live in the same city I do.”

HSLDA’s Scott Woodruff explained the bill’s aim is to allow homeschoolers to have access to various sports programs in public schools. Their parents, after all, pay the same taxes that all other parents pay, and most home schools don’t field athletic teams.

“Sara had been asked by South Dakota Christian Home Educators (SDCHE) to testify in support of H.B. 1120, a bill which would allow homeschool students to participate in public school sports,” HSLDA said. “As a homeschooling veteran and mother of three, she was happy to advocate for more opportunities for homeschool students.”

The bill ultimately died in the face of organized opposition from school administrators, HSLDA said.

Slashed tire (Image courtesy HSLDA)

Slashed tire (Image courtesy HSLDA)

After testifying in support, accompanied by her 13-year-old daughter, Valle drove to a skating rink for her daughter’s lesson.

“When they arrived … Sara and her daughter heard a strange sound coming from her car. Upon closer inspection, Sara discovered the broken-off blade of a box cutter embedded in on of the tire,” HSLDA said.

Her worst fears were confirmed at a tire repair shop, where she was told the damage was deliberate.

“Later, a friend of hers who is a police officer and a homeschooling dad pointed out that whoever had jabbed the blade into her tire had done it in such a way that it wouldn’t start deflating until she began driving,” HSLDA said.

“I’m not okay with that,” Valle told HSLDA. “My kids are in that car.”

She reported the attack to police.

HSLDA said the opposition to the bill had come from public school superintendents in the state.

Did the blade attack work?

“It makes me feel unsafe – but it doesn’t make me want to quit. I am not going to let their intimidation tactics work. If anything, this has made us band together more strongly as a homeschool community.”


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