The news that homeschooling parents David and Louise Turpin horrifically abused their children over an extended period of time has not only shocked people all over the nation but has also led government agencies, officials and even many ordinary people to call for more supervision of homeschooling in general. While some are genuinely concerned about preventing the possibility of future abuse, the truth is that the threat of abusive homeschool parents is minuscule, especially in comparison to the potential for government abuse of the rights of homeschool families.
Recent proposals by California lawmakers are especially chilling. A number of these individuals are not only calling for home visits, interviews and other forms of government oversight but are also making it clear that parents who want to homeschool their children will need to prove to the government that they are not abusive.
This move would go against the basic legal tenant that a person is innocent until proven guilty; in fact, it would basically categorize all homeschooling parents in the state as abusers until the parents are able to prove otherwise.
Unfortunately, the urge to crack down on homeschooling families is not limited to the state of California. In New York City, it is not uncommon for homeschool families to be charged with educational neglect after the paperwork they are required to file with the state is lost by state bureaucrats. One homeschool mother is suing New York City because its actions led to a Child Protective Services Investigation.
Iowa introduced a measure last year that would force homeschool families to submit to inspections several times a year. Government officials conducting such inspections would interview or observe each child and check his or her health and safety. Given the fact that the state offers no definition of what it means by “health and safety”, it is clear that such a measure could be easily misused by any inspector who does not like a particular family and/or that family’s beliefs.
While the trend in recent years has been for states to allow homeschool families more freedom, this could change as anti-homeschool activists use the recent Turpin scandal to bolster old attempts to subject homeschool families to more regulation, supervision and outright harassment.
The push to crack down on homeschool parents is relying heavily on the feelings of anger that many feel about abuses that have occurred in a homeschool environment. Activists and even government officials that do not have a high opinion of homeschooling are likely hoping that the general public will go along with Draconian laws that ostensibly claim to protect homeschool children.
However, there are some important facts which should be part of the debate but are not typically mentioned by those calling for more supervision of homeschool families. For starters, recent statistics show that abuse is more likely to occur in a public or even private school environment than in a homeschool one. In 2017, there were nearly 800 cases of teachers and school employees being accused or even convicted of having sex with underage students. Bullying in many schools is an ever-worsening problem that is causing many children to take their own lives.
It is also worth noting that experts from the American Psychological Association, Mayo Clinic, the World Health Organization and other organizations do not list homeschooling as a risk factor for child abuse.
Far from being abusive, homeschooling is in many cases the best way to give a child the best possible education and parents and grandparents of all ages, religious backgrounds and walks of life are embracing the freedom that homeschooling offers, as is evidenced by the fact that there are over two million homeschooled children in the United States today.
History has proven that governments that seek excessive control over their citizens rarely use their powers in a caring, compassionate manner to benefit the well-being of all concerned. While some homeschool parents have mistreated their children, this should not mean that the overwhelming majority who do everything in their power to give their children a high quality education should be punished.
Unfortunately, this is what could happen should state governments crack down on homeschooling. Given the fact that child protective services throughout the United States have a track record of harassing innocent parents and in some cases even accusing them falsely of abusing their children, it would be wise for us to pray that parents who are homeschooling their children will be allowed to do so with little to no government interference.
~ Christian Patriot Daily