What is WHEN?WHEN is the World Home Education Network, a loose network of groups and individuals who focus on legal issues that affect homeschoolers. THEN, and its successor WHEN, have been studying legal cases worldwide for more than a decade. WHEN is always interested in the details of case studies and precedents. Furthermore, WHEN likes to assist in fundraising, with the prospect of supporting test cases that could challenge compulsory schooling laws worldwide. If you like, post a message at any of the WHEN discussion groups and lists below. The About WHEN page gives further background about WHEN.
More than a decade ago, WHEN (then called THEN) submitted a petition to the United Nations. This petition still is a milestone and example for similar action. The petition was discussed in the THEN newsletter of 24 May 1993, which said: "THEN has now initiated a class action case with the U.N., on behalf of a number of homeschoolers, claiming the Queensland Government violates the U.N.'s First Optional Protocol of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, to which Australia has recently acceded."
The move to send this petition was taken only after long discussions within THEN. These discussions can be found back in the article To UN or not to UN?. In the end, two petitions were sent, one petition to the UN and a petition to the Queen, as also discussed in the editorial of the September 1993 issue of the THEN newsletter that contained copies of both petitions.
Home Education News
No Action by the U.N. was the title of a report in Home Education News of 25 March 1994. Home Education News was a leaflet inserted in the THEN newsletter that could be easily copied homeschoolers and included into various homeschooling newsletters. Home Education News reported events that could support the above petitions.
WHEN continues to support efforts to collect evidence that can be used in a legal challenge. A substantial number of Home Education News reports are still available, dating back to the early years of THEN. In time, more of these reports will be made available online. If you come across anything that could be used, post a message with details at the WHEN discussion groups and lists below.
WHEN is happy to assist homeschoolers with making submissions where reform of laws that affect homeschooling is under study. The submission of WHEN to the Review of Homeschooling in Queensland, Australia, can act as an example of WHEN's approach.
There have also been suggestions to re-initiate the class action case model, either to be used in a test case, or in a renewed petition to the U.N. Two scenarios can be followed:
1. To bring test cases before courts to challenge laws that discriminate against homeschooling, with the intention to appeal against any unsatisfactory rulings.The two above scenarios can be followed separately and simultaneously. But obviously, once the legal system of a specific nation has been sufficiently challenged, the focus will switch to scenario 2, which will gain substantial strength from such a turn of events. In this respect, it should be noted that a refusal of police and public prosecution to follow up a reported breach of law can be sufficient ground to stop pursuing legal action in that country and to instead turn directly to the UN. If you are interested, discuss this matter further at the various WHEN forums. You can join the WHEN Email List at Topica by filling in the box below. You can also follow discussion by going through the public message archive on the web. Apart from the WHEN email list at Topica, there are other places where you can read and participate in discussions.