The knee jerk critics of public education, including our local contingent, are quick to propagate any story that appears to put our school systems in a bad light. Too quick.
A story spread around the anti-public education sphere today under headlines such as “Parental Rights Die In California,” “Education or indoctrination,” You vil go to our skools und you vil like ti,” “CA Judges: “Parents Have No Constitutional Right to Homeschool.”” The source of all this panic is a post by Bob Unruh on WorldNetDaily: “Judge orders homeschoolers into government education Court: Family’s religious beliefs ‘no evidence’ of 1st Amendment violation.” One glance at this site and post is all it should take realize that this is not a reliable source. Here are excerpts of the original post:
“We find no reason to strike down the Legislature’s evaluation of what constitutes an adequate education scheme sufficient to promote the ‘general diffusion of knowledge and intelligence,'” the court said in the case. “We agree … ‘the educational program of the State of California was designed to promote the general welfare of all the people and was not designed to accommodate the personal ideas of any individual in the field of education.'”
The words echo the ideas of officials from Germany, where homeschooling has been outlawed since 1938 under a law adopted when Adolf Hitler decided he wanted the state, and no one else, to control the minds of the nation’s youth.
Wolfgang Drautz, consul general for the Federal Republic of Germany, has said “school teaches not only knowledge but also social conduct, encourages dialogue among people of different beliefs and cultures, and helps to become responsible citizens.”…
The father, Phillip Long, said the family is working on ways to appeal to the state Supreme Court, because he won’t allow the pro-homosexual, pro-bisexual, pro-transgender agenda of California’s public schools, on which WND previously has reported, to indoctrinate his children.
“We just don’t want them teaching our children,” he told WND. “They teach things that are totally contrary to what we believe. They put questions in our children’s minds we don’t feel they’re ready for.
“When they are much more mature, they can deal with these issues, alternative lifestyles, and such, or whether they came from primordial slop. At the present time it’s my job to teach them the correct way of thinking,” he said.
“We’re going to appeal. We have to. I don’t want to put my children in a public school system that teaches ideologies I don’t believe in,” he said.
Nazis? The pro-homosexual, pro-bisexual, pro-transgender agenda? I’d be pretty careful linking to this stuff and I certainly wouldn’t pick a seemingly innocuous passage to excerpt and link without comment.
I also thought it would be worthwhile to find out more about the case before posting (click the link to read it). The case itself isn’t all that interesting or important. The panic over “no constitutional right” and similar ideas is silly. I have no constitutional right to kiss my son good night and tuck him in (which I just did), but there is no constitutional prohibition either. All the judges did was affirm the long standing idea that society and therefore the state has an interest in the education and well being of children that can at times trump the interests of parents. This has been recognized in public education at least since the 1852 Massachusetts Compulsory School Law and is at the core of child abuse protections.
I looked at a related case against the parents too. That’s where I found what Unruh doesn’t want you to know and those who linked to him — without thinking because the story seemed to support their hostility to public schools — should have known. The family lost their privilege to home school because of serious allegations of child abuse and other things that placed the children in danger. Here are excerpts from that ruling:
The family’s third contact with the juvenile court came when a petition was filed in November 1993 for the same five children plus minor Rachel. According to a Department report in the instant case and a Department report in a 2001 matter involving this family, the six minors were found to be persons coming within the provisions of section 300 on the basis of the following sustained allegations: the parents’ home was dangerous to the minors in that it included, but was not limited to, approximately 60 guns, rifles and/or assault weapons; black powder in an unsecured location; and live ammunition, shells, and magazines, all of which was within access of the minors, and the guns and ammunition were in close proximity to each other. Further, the minors’ home was found to be in [*9] an endangering filthy, unsanitary and unsafe condition, and the minors were chronically filthy, and unsupervised late at night. Additionally, the parents unlawfully concealed the whereabouts of the children from the Department and father willfully gave false information to the court concerning the whereabouts of the children. Eventually all of the minors were released to mother’s care….
The fifth and current involvement of the Department with this [*10] family came as the result of minor Rachel’s contact with the Los Angeles Police Department, Wilshire Division, on January 26, 2006, when she asked to be picked up because she was tired, hungry and had no place to live. She was fourteen years old at the time. She had run away from the family home on October 29, 2005. Rachel told the Department social worker that she was tired of living under father’s house rules. She stated father would hit her with a stick, hanger or shoe if she did not follow his rules. She said he will not let her wear pants at home and she had to wear skirts or dresses, not let her wear makeup, and not let her attend public school. Rachel also reported that Leonard C. repeatedly molested her when she was between the ages of four and nine. He repeatedly groped her and would come into her room when she was in bed and put his finger into her vagina. She said she told the parents about it when she was 12 years old but they did not believe her. She stated the man still comes to the house occasionally and she worries that he might begin molesting her sister Mary Grace. She stated she engages in selfmutilation (cutting herself with a razor blade) and has problems with [*11] depression, but her parents will not send her to therapy because father tells her that speaking with him is all the therapy she needs. She stated she would never be all right with father now because she has been sexually active. She stated she would continue to run away if she is forced to live at home. The social worker reported that Rachel’s situation was similar to her sister Elizabeth’s, who also ran away, wanted to attend public school, objected to father’s house rules, was removed from the home for physical and emotional abuse, and complained that father dominates everyone in the house, including mother.
A different picture than the one of activist judges of a totalitarian state serving the degenerate interests of the public education monopoly that Unruh would like you to believe.
Maybe the knee jerks will be a little more careful of the company they keep the next time some bogus voucher or tax study or inflammatory report bolstering their assumptions comes their way and maybe follow the linked examples and seek the truth. We can hope.
Thomas J. Mertz