9/23/14: What? Arrest good parents of 5-year-olds?


September 23, 2014 -- For Immediate Release

AB 1444 allows arrest of good parents
Thomasson: "The devil is in the details of AB 1444"

Sacramento, California -- A disturbing consequence of the mandatory kindergarten bill on Governor Jerry Brown's desk would mean good, conscientious parents who delay formal schooling for their young children could be arrested and jailed.

AB 1444 would change kindergarten, which is currently a parent's option, into a state mandate. Parents who believe it's best to delay school until first grade when their child turns 6 would be regarded as criminals.

California Penal Code, Section 270.1: The parent or guardian of a chronic truant "is guilty of a misdemeanor punishable by a fine not exceeding two thousand dollars ($2,000), or by imprisonment in a county jail not exceeding one year, or by both that fine and imprisonment."

What's more, AB 1444 would permit authorities to take into custody 5-year-olds whose parents are conscientiously delaying school until first grade, when their child is 6 years of age.

California Education Code, Section 48264: "The attendance supervisor or his or her designee, a peace officer, a school administrator or his or her designee, or a probation officer may arrest or assume temporary custody, during school hours, of any minor subject to compulsory full-time education or to compulsory continuation education found away from his or her home and who is absent from school without valid excuse within the county, city, or city and county, or school district."

"The devil is in the details of AB 1444," said Randy Thomasson, president of, which promotes moral virtues for the common good, and which opposes mandatory kindergarten. "Under AB 1444, a mother at the library or park with her 5-year-old old could be arrested simply for exercising her God-given parental right to choose what's best for her own child. It's shocking, but authorities could actually snatch away a child from this caring, nurturing mother, whom they call 'bad' and 'neglectful.' Even if she's already teaching her boy or girl reading and manners, promising authorities she'll enroll her child in first grade at age 6 can't protect his good mom from jail, a huge fine, or both."

"Fathers and mothers who delay formal schooling until their young children are 6 years old are not bad parents," Thomasson said. "Most U.S. states don't mandate kindergarten because first grade really means the first grade for children at this tender stage of development. The government has no right to criminalize parents simply for delaying formal schooling until first grade. On the contrary, thoughtful and purposeful parents like these are often the best parents."

Consider these family situations, which AB 1444 would deem "criminal":

•    A 5-year-old girl who's doing well emotionally and developmentally at home. Her parents don't want the interruption of mandatory public school or other formal schooling just yet.
•    A 5-year-old boy who doesn't yet know how to healthily handle conflict with other children. His parents want him home for another year so they can work with and better prepare him.
•    A father or mother who is concerned about the local schools, who wants more time to consider their education choices, and who doesn't want to be rushed or forced into kindergarten.

"The question is not whether kindergarten is good or bad, or whether parents who delay formal schooling until age 6 are good or bad," Thomasson said. "The question is -- do children belong to parents or to the State, and does the State have the constitutional right to usurp the God-given role of parents to raise and educate their own children? If you believe in basic parental rights, you can't support the elimination of parental rights. This is why concerned Californians are calling Jerry Brown to urge him to veto AB 1444. Kindergarten should remain a parent's option, and not become a threatening state mandate."

-- end -- is a leading West Coast nonprofit, nonpartisan organization standing strong for moral virtues for the common good. We represent children and families in the areas of marriage and family, parental rights, the sanctity of human life, religious freedom, financial freedom, and back-to-basics education.



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