Would you call it “progress” if our society outlawed homeschooling under the threat of having licensed social workers and police raid your home and forcibly take your children away? This is not only possible in some countries in Europe, but has just actually happened. We were disturbed to read of a recent event in Germany where a home was raided with a battering ram, a team of armed police, special agents and social workers, all because the parents were simply homeschooling their children. No reports of neglect or abuse were made. And what is equally concerning to us is that social workers were involved. At what point would a licensed therapist join forces with the state, to separate children from their parents all because of how they choose to educate their children? Has the world of professional therapy lost its way?
For readers who are not familiar with the story, you can find it here:
and here: http://dailycaller.com/2013/08/31/the-perils-of-homeschooling-german-police-storm-home-seize-four-children/
Now granted, we don’t know all the details of this, and we expect more details to arise, but the premise of it is frightening and worth discussing since homeschooling is illegal in Germany and considered criminal. One might first make the counter-argument that homeschooling in Germany is illegal, and because of that, these parents were criminals, and thus removing their children by force was appropriate and moral. So here is the question: does the fact that there is a law in Germany that bans homeschooling justify a raid on a home and taking children away by force? There was a time in American history where it was illegal for a slave to escape a master. Do not be so quick to use the “law” as your highest moral authority. Some laws themselves are a violation of human rights. What if there was a law that mandated what kind of religion you were allowed to believe? Would you be “ok” in breaking a law like this? We believe every parent should have the right to educate their children. The idea that somehow the state run school system is superior to all other forms of education for children is irrational and dangerous. Giving the state full control over our children is not progressive, it does not represent societal evolution, but in our view, it represents societal devolution. One could call it progress, for sure, but in the wrong direction.
Homeschooling And Human Rights
Theravive will take an active stand to protect the rights of parents to make choices about the education of their children, and we sincerely hope the therapy community in the United States and Canada does not reach a point where they would consider it “healthy” to rip children away from their parents simply because the parents decided to educate their children at home. We are not saying the public school system is bad, in fact, we cherish the great teachers in our public school system and the awesome things they do for our children. But I think we all can agree there are also flaws in our public school system. There are some places where the public school system is failing our kids. And a parent who has time and resources available to supplement their children’s education should not just be allowed to do so, but encouraged to do so. Stripping choice in education from parents is not healthy, neither for a society, nor for families, and stands against freedom and human rights.
Having minimum standards for homeschooling is certainly acceptable. We feel that if a parent chooses to homeschool a child, that there should be some accountability- some form of assessment to ensure the child is receiving an adequate education. But we do not support the notion that a parent has no choice whatsoever. We do not support the notion of making it universally illegal under threat of the state beating down your door and taking away your kids. And even worse, a clinical social worker who would side with the state in ripping children from their parents over homeschooling, thinking that somehow this is “healthy” for the children, to us is frightening. If there are no formal ethics regarding such an act, there should be.
“But homeschooling has flaws! Many kids who are homeschooled wind up uneducated.”
Guess what? Many kids in the public school system wind up uneducated, from dropping out, to being fully illiterate upon graduation. And, many kids in homeschool also turn out extremely educated, more advanced than some of the best high school seniors. There is not a “universal” truth to this issue. When the public school system is broken, do we just eliminate the public school system, or try to find ways to make it better? We try to find ways to make it better. So what sense does it make to unilaterally abolish all homeschooling simply because some instances may not work well? Where public schools fail, we seek to make them better. Where homeschooling fails, we should also make it better. Parents should have rights. An all-powerful state is a scary proposition. Think carefully before you endorse the elimination of your freedom from our society. Even if you do not agree with something, that is not a reason to therefore abolish it under threat of criminal offense.
“I don’t agree with it, therefore, it should be outlawed.” Is this a good philosophy for a society? A Skinnerian society where we input children into the state machine, and have a predetermined output without freethought and expressive deviance represents a horrible collapse in freedom. Education should not be a state-run assembly line, and neither should our children and families. And credentialed therapists should not participate in the destruction of families over something as basic and fundamental as the right for a parent to have a choice in the education of their own child. A therapist's heart should be about helping families long before helping a politician.
How do you feel about this issue? Do think a state has the moral right to take children away from a parent who homeschools them? Do you think that armed police removing children by force over homeschooling is “healthy” for those children and in their best interest even though there has been no accusation of neglect or abuse? What if those children were actually highly intelligent as a result of the homeschooling and outscored their peers on tests? Would you take your children to see a therapist whom you know has been involved in an armed raid against a family who did nothing wrong, except to homeschool their children? If you knew a therapist had participated in such an act, how would you feel about that therapist helping your family through issues?
If you are interested in learning more about the legal issues regarding homeschooling, please check out the Homeschool Legal Defense Association.
Christie Hunter is registered clinical counselor in British Columbia and co-founder of Theravive. She is a certified management accountant. She has a masters of arts in counseling psychology from Liberty University with specialty in marriage and family and a post-graduate specialty in trauma resolution. In 2007 she started Theravive with her husband in order to help make mental health care easily attainable and nonthreatening. She has a passion for gifted children and their education. You can reach Christie at 360-350-8627 or write her at christie - at - theravive.com.