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Personal Letter: Thank You/Autism Insurance Reform/Homeschool/Use of Force

Representative Lampe,

Autism Insurance Reform
While I am not in your district, I wanted to thank you for supporting autism insurance reform, and hope that this can springboard into equal insurance for all those with developmental/neurological disabilities (Have you seen HB1810?). After reading another news item from the House that made my two boys with autism sound like they were near death's door (or might as well be), I was very pleased with the kind and realistic language you used in your newsletter.

I believe in the right to do what we, as parents, think is best for our children, but I also believe in the responsibility of the government to allow this right to come to fruition. Not everyone homeschools or believes that homeschooling is the best for his or her child, which means we as a society have a responsibility to look at the whole regarding quality and safe education and just not one group.

I have spoken to you before regarding the abuse of restraint and seclusion in schools (Did you hear federal legislation passed committee yesterday?), and you will be hearing more from me soon regarding the "use of force to protect person or property" provision in HB1543 (http://nomoseclusion.blogspot.com/2010/01/corporal-punishment-and-use-of-force-in.html) and how I think this language will indirectly allow the continuing misuse and abuse of restraint (as what is happening to this Missouri child right now: http://nomoseclusion.blogspot.com/2010/01/young-boys-story.html).

These issues, along with other repeated failures of the school system, are the reason why I homeschool my children with disabilities; however, I am dismayed at the tone of the e-mails circulating in the homeschool community right now. I understand the need to preserve parental rights, but I also understand the responsibility to ensure a quality and safe education for all children. This is one of the reasons I am still advocating on the issue of restraint and seclusion even though it no longer directly effects my children.

In talking with you in the past (I didn't homeschool at that time), I believe you also understand this balance and will try to achieve a respectful balance as to the rights of all children and families in any future amendments. I'm not sure if I am the only one in the homeschool community who feels this way, but I don't think you are out to take away my rights to homeschool my children as I see fit. I do, however, think it is a good lesson as to how legislation can have negative unintended consequences, as I also believe will be the case with the "use of force to protect person or property" provision in this same bill.

Please let me know if you would like to discuss any of these issues, otherwise I will be contacting your office to discuss my concerns regarding "use of force to protect person or property" provision in HB1543 in the near future.


Ange Hemmer

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