Sanctions: Guilt by Association?

by Scott Woodruff

When the Global Home Education Conference (GHEC) took place in Germany in 2012 and Brazil in 2016, no one accused HSLDA of being infiltrated by their governments or colluding with their agents.

But a recent article criticized HSLDA for its role in helping to organize the GHEC in Russia last May which was attended by (among many others), a Russian citizen, Yelena Mizulina, who is under U.S sanctions.

The article made me curious: what are “sanctions,” really?

A sanction is a tool that the U.S. government uses to express their displeasure toward the actions of a foreign citizen or government. The sanctions imposed on Mizulina could be summarized as: Americans and American businesses cannot conduct financial transactions with her, and she can’t come to America. More details are available here:

Former president Obama sanctioned Mizulina, and the official reason offered was: “sanctioned for her status as a State Duma Deputy.

However, sanctions don’t bar other forms of contact or communication. Associating with those under sanctions does not justify a “guilt by association” conclusion.

HSLDA did not invite Mizulina to the global homeschool conference. But we did not let her appearance at the conference impede the joint efforts of representatives from more than 30 countries working toward the shared goal of making homeschooling possible for children around the world.

We will seek to support local homeschool communities even in countries that are starkly different from our own. The global face of homeschooling will always bear the imprint of each nation’s own culture. We must respect that.

Homeschooling is a world-wide movement. Part of HSLDA’s mission is to reach across borders, cultures, ideologies, religions, political views, and more to find common ground and bring the opportunity of homeschooling to every nation on earth. Sometimes finding common ground is the first step in the path to peace.