31. High Schools’ Mock Trial Involving a Homeschooler (5/98)

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Whereas the 1998 Wisconsin High School Mock Trial Tournament, sponsored by the State Bar of Wisconsin, presented an extremely negative and misleading impression of homeschoolers (see their 1998 Handbook of Case Materials); and

Whereas the case materials developed by the State Bar of Wisconsin and distributed to high schools throughout the state foster misunderstanding and unwarranted prejudice against homeschoolers; and

Whereas the materials reduce truancy to a simplistic behavior and fail to distinguish between compulsory attendance and compulsory education; and

Whereas the materials are similar to the highly prejudicial and misinformed testimony presented at a hearing in April, 1997, before the Wisconsin Senate Education Committee by a judge who was supporting SB106, the bill he had asked Senator Breske to introduce to increase state regulation of homeschooling, and this same judge served on the committee of the State Bar of Wisconsin that prepared the case materials; and

Whereas pp. 91-93 of the case materials present the testimony of a fictitious librarian, Blair Prescott, who discloses the identity and activity of a library patron (the homeschooler), thereby violating Section 43.30 (1) of the Wisconsin Statutes which prohibits such disclosure except by court order (the case materials make no mention of such an order); and

Whereas these irresponsible case materials do a serious disservice to our judicial system, librarians, high school students, teachers, parents, and homeschoolers;

Be it resolved by members of the Wisconsin Parents Association (WPA) that WPA will work through its members to inform homeschoolers and the general public of the misinformation contained in these case materials and to encourage people to better understand homeschoolers, the very positive effect homeschoolers have in their local communities, and the strong relations that exist between librarians and homeschoolers. 5/98

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