An Ohio bill would make parents in the state submit themselves and their children to an intrusive investigation before they would be allowed to homeschool their children. The bill, SB 248, is stunning in its heavy-handedness:
It requires all parents who homeschool to undergo a social services investigation which would ultimately determine if homeschooling would be permitted. Social workers would have to interview parents and children separately, conduct background checks and determine whether homeschooling is recommended or not. If it is not recommended, parents would have to submit to an “intervention” before further consideration of their request to homeschool.
It’s being called “Teddy’s Bill.” This stems from the tragic death of Teddy Foltz-Tedesco:
The effort is a result of the Jan. 26 death of 14-year-old Theodore “Teddy” Foltz Tedesco at the hands of Zaryl G. Bush, 533 Creed St., Struthers, who was dating his mother, Shain Widdersheim, 28 Creed St. Bush was accused of running a boot camp like environment, abusing the boy physically and emotionally, and beating him to death.
Teddy’s father, Shawn Tedesco of Sharon, Pa., on Monday said that Widdersheim and Bush isolated the teenager by taking him out of the school system, where teachers, social workers and others potentially may have seen signs of abuse happening.
While I can imagine the pain Shawn is going through, I have to point something out. People saw the signs of abuse.
Family friend April Williams said the family was certain Widdersheim knew about the alleged abuse happening not only to Teddy, but also to her other two children.
“As far as the family is concerned, she knew everything that was going on,” said Williams, who was friends with Widdersheim and whose kids played with Widdersheim’s.
Williams said a grandmother of the children had the children tell Widdersheim about Bush physically abusing them more than two years ago, but Widdersheim refused to hear it.
“She called them liars, and threw their toys in the yard to punish them,” Williams said.
As HSLDA pointed out, even if the state denied Teddy’s family permission to homeschool, he would still be coming home to an abusive home.
It was the system that failed Teddy. Making the system bigger won’t fix that. It will only make things worse for every other family in Ohio who wants to homeschool.