If a bill introduced by four Democrats in the Ohio Senate last week becomes law, it would be the most radical homeschooling law in the country, stripping parents of their constitutionally guaranteed right to direct the education of their children and requiring interrogations by social workers before homeschooling is permitted. Home School Legal Defense Association’s Michael Donnelly said SB 248 is “breathtakingly onerous in its scope” and called it the “worst-ever” homeschool law that has been proposed.
Sponsored by Capri Cafaro (D-Hubbard), SB 248 — Teddy’s Law — was proffered in reaction to the very tragic death of Teddy Foltz-Tedesco in January 2013. Teddy and his 10-year-old twin brothers were abused by Zaryl Bush for at least five years while the boys’ mother, Shain Widdersheim, stood by and allowed the torture and beatings to continue. Teddy ultimately died from a severe beating by Bush, who was sentenced to 33 years to life for the murder while the mother received a sentence of 15 years for allowing the abuse.
Widdersheim had withdrawn the boys from school — allegedly teaching them at home — after teachers began to suspect abuse. Relatives and neighbors say they reported the abuse to the children services board (CSB) on repeated occasion but were rebuffed. Widdersheim’s sister was one of them. “We called, multiple times we did,” she said, sobbing. “They wouldn’t do anything. They told us we were lying.”