Child Abuse does not = homeschooling
Have you seen the recent headlines from the UK, Children’s Minister: Home education ‘may be cover for abuse’ and some of the responses such as Parents object to plans for home school probe and this one at Dare to Know?
We’ve seen these types of headlines lead to calls for more accountability measures for home educators in the US as well. However, in almost every abuse case that I have read about, there were usually prior complaints. Additionally, the common factor was not the educational choice, but the mentally ill or criminally insane individual(s) who could unfathomably harm an innocent child and the backlog of work facing child protective services.
Such media reports that single out homeschoolers always prompt me to ask, what about the abuse that happens in schools? Unfortunately criminal and insane behavior is no respecter of persons and indeed it does cross all areas of society and educational choices. Recently, a very popular band leader at my town’s high-school was found to have had developed an inappropriate relationship with a student. He had been here for several years and had really helped the band program become something the students and community are proud of. Being well liked, the news came as a shock, but that does not make it any easier on the young woman or her family. And yes it has been reported that he had prior complaints at a previous school. Should this lead the authorities to create new “band leader” laws to prevent another band leader from abusing a student? As foolish as that sounds, it is a perfect example of what happens when hard cases are used to create bad laws.
No sane individual ever likes to hear of a child being abused, but the continued effort by some to connect it with certain educational choice adds unnecessary confusion since the choice irrelevant. Instead of imposing new laws on the innocent, investigators should follow complaints, enforce present laws and do all they can to assure that children who may be in questionable circumstances know how to get out of them.
Certainly the media’s words sting, but it is the legislators’ intent and pens we must watch for to make sure that bad laws do not develop from hard cases. The UK headline is yet another example of why homeschoolers must be continually vigilant.