Wednesday, August 26, 2009

My Take: Home-school Parents Deserve Freedom from Unwarranted Government Intrusion

Can you imagine the public outcry and indignation if an elected official called for mandatory home visits and regularly scheduled conferences with a social worker for all children of say, never-married mothers? After all, the politician could point to a handful of highly publicized tragedies and claim that justifies the gross intrusion of privacy for millions of families. Are our politicians afraid of the baby mama lobby?

If women insist on raising children outside of wedlock, they should be proud to show everyone how good a job they are doing, right? If they can’t, or won’t, perhaps their children really need to be rescued, and the mom sent to jail for neglect and/or abuse- shouldn't they?

Do you think any respectable newspaper would publish an op-ed piece calling for the implementation of the above policy?

Why, then, is it okay for school board member Peggy Boyce of Saugatuck, MI to call for government intrusion into families' lives for no other reason than their decision to homeschool their children?

If we would (rightly) be outraged by a politician considering all unwed moms to be guilty of child abuse and/or neglect until proven innocent, why aren't we outraged when it happens to homeschoolers?

By all means, child welfare authorities ought to investigate cases of suspected child abuse and neglect. But there needs to be some legitimate grounds for suspicion, not just the simple act of homeschooling. One cannot just go about calling for the government to invade the privacy of millions of American homes and to subject millions of U.S. children to interrogations by social workers without one heckuva good reason.

And the fact that Ms. Boyce in her not unbiased opinion considers homeschooling to be a "farce" simply isn't good enough.


Anonymous said...

One of my friends is a case worker and says most cases of neglect and abuse are kids being homeschooled to cover up the evidence. How would they know who to target? Its a tough call. I'm not thrilled with the idea but I have nothing to hide and if this will help and rescue many of those poor children, I don't have a problem with it.

Crimson Wife said...

Were the kids homeschooled all along or were they pulled from a government-run school after the family got involved with CPS? Out of all the tragedies I've heard involving abused kids who were allegedly being "homeschooled", I can think of only one (the Sean Paddock case) involving a child who never attended a traditional school. All the rest were only pulled from a traditional school after the abuse was reported to the authorities.

Is it a red flag when a parent suspected of abuse pulls a child out of a traditional school to "homeschool"? Absolutely. When that happens, it is perfectly reasonable for the assigned social worker to keep closer tabs on the family. Home visits may be warranted as there are already legitimate grounds for suspicion.

But that's different than saying ALL homeschoolers should have to endure home visits. Only a small percent of families were involved with CPS prior to starting to homeschool. Those are the families who may need closer supervision- leave the rest of us alone!