LANSING, MI — State Sen. Jim Runestad on Thursday voiced his support for the rights of Michigan parents to homeschool their children in response to recent challenges from prominent Democrats.
On Dec. 5, the chair of the state House Education Committee took to social media to call for the mandatory registration of all homeschoolers in the state in response to Attorney General Dana Nessel’s announcement of charges against two couples for alleged abuse and conspiracy to financially profit from fostering and adopting children.
Rep. Matt Koleszar, D-Plymouth, posted his thoughts on X, formerly known as Twitter, and spoke widely to the media about his desire to force homeschooling parents to register with the state. Attorney General Dana Nessel was quick to back the idea and state Senate Education Committee Chair Dayna Polehanki, D-Livonia, told the Detroit Free Press that parents who are homeschooling in Michigan “absolutely needs to be known” by the state.
“These Big Brother Democrats seem eager to play fast and loose in order to encroach upon the rights of parents as the primary educators of their own children. But what they should be doing is working to hold the disaster that is the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services and Child Protective Services accountable in their duty to protect vulnerable children who are placed in the state’s care, often under already tragic circumstances,” said Runestad. R-White Lake.
According to MDHHS rules, “All children in foster care are required to attend a regular public or private school program. Home schooling is not permitted.”
“Instead of holding a state department accountable for what seems — to anyone who is paying attention — are habitual failures to enforce laws and policies already on the books, the attorney general and her Democratic cronies in the Legislature are looking to infringe upon the rights of law-abiding citizens throughout the state,” Runestad said. “This unwarranted government overreach against families who homeschool would be the very definition of an unconstitutional invasion of privacy and extreme violation of parental rights.”
Earlier this year, Runestad held a press conference to highlight concerns with CPS following the tragic death of a 5-year-old Lincoln Park boy. He also introduced Senate Bill 53 to increase oversight and transparency into CPS.
Sabin Flore, whose parents are the subject of the attorney general’s recent charges, asked a Lansing television station, “Who’s gonna hold the prosecutors and the attorney general and CPS accountable?”
“That’s an important question, and the answer is I am,” said Runestad. “I am ready to work with anyone — Republican or Democrat — who is willing to fight with me. Our government exists to serve the people and protect their rights, not to infringe upon them and force submission. Michigan is not a totalitarian state.”
Runestad said he will support the efforts of homeschool organizations to defend families against government overreach.
“Since 1984, MiCHN has supported the right of all Michigan homeschooling families to give their children a quality education at home. We oppose any proposed regulations that would hinder those freedoms,” said Israel Wayne, vice president of the Michigan Christian Homeschool Network.