Here we go again.
Apparently there was a heinous case in Florida earlier this year in which a ten-year-old girl named Nubia was murdered, allegedly at the hands of her adoptive parents.
This is, of course, tragic beyond words. It's all the more so because it was preventable. The girl's adoptive parents "had been investigated multiple times by the DCF [Department of Children and Families] for serious allegations of abuse and neglect. These investigations occurred while they were foster parents, during the adoption of the children, and afterward. In fact, they pulled the children out of the public school in the middle of yet another DCF investigation," notes a report by the Homeschool Legal Defense Association.
That's right: little Nubia was being (cough) "homeschooled" at the time of her murder.
So guess what was the conclusion reached by the grand jury investigating this case? That's right -- ALL homeschooling parents are therefore suspect. Surprise!
Almost without exception, every homeschooling parent at one time or another has been on the receiving end of anything from mild surprise to outright hostility for choosing to educate our children at home. After all, why else would we make such a decision unless we wanted to hide the bruises?
But Nubia wasn't murdered because she was homeschooled. She was murdered because bureaucrats didn't do their job. Even the grand jury makes it clear that if governmental officials had properly followed existing procedures, Nubia would not be dead.
So what do they suggest? How's this for insanity: "The grand jury recommends that the law be amended to require every notice of intent for a home education program to 'be forwarded to DCF to determine if any reports have been made to the DCF Hotline,'" notes the HSLDA. "The grand jury went on to recommend that if parents had ever been the subject of a Department of Children and Families (DCF) investigation, they were to be immediately subject to a new investigation by DCF and required to submit to a period of monitoring, even if the previous investigation completely cleared them."
In 2009, over 80% of Florida child abuse reports that were actually investigated were determined to be unsubstantiated, meaning there was "not sufficient evidence under State law to conclude or suspect that the child was maltreated or at-risk of being maltreated." Remember, all it takes is one disgruntled coworker or snarky relative making an anonymous call to have you investigated for child abuse. It doesn't mean you're guilty.
Anyone who's ever read Mary Pride's downright scary book The Child Abuse Industry knows that anonymous and unsubstantiated "tips" by unfriendly neighbors or weird relatives to the Child Protective Services hotline can start a nightmare of an investigation in which the parents are presumed guilty on all counts and an impartial investigation is virtually impossible. Frequently families are ripped apart for no reason.
So now all homeschooling parents in Florida are automatically suspected of keeping their kids home in order to hide the bruises. "The recommendations are stunning because they assume that the lawful decision of parents to teach their children at home must be examined by DCF every single time," reports the HSLDA. "Even more concerning is the grand jury’s declaration that if parents had been falsely reported up to seven years ago and completely exonerated, they would be subject to an investigation and undetermined period of monitoring by DCF."
See? Innocence isn't good enough. All homeschoolers are guilty.
"While the purpose of such an investigation is 'to make sure motives are pure and covert child abuse is not the true goal,'" says the HSLDA report, "these recommendations go well beyond the realm of reason and what is warranted by this terrible situation. They would result in parents who choose a valid and legal educational option in Florida being treated as suspected criminals. Additionally, these recommendations would not have prevented the events in this case... While many serious concerns about Nubia’s adoptive family were reported time and time again, state officials failed to properly follow up on them."
A bunch of bureaucrats fell down on the job, little Nubia died, and they're fixing the blame on the wrong parties. Hellooooo??
Grrrr. Stuff like this makes me see red.