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Homeschool Abuse/Neglect bill proposed in MD


Quill
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With our justice department currently suing the legislature for all-up neglecting literally everybody, yeah, homeschoolers are last on the list. "That's one less kid we have to give a basic education to!" Feels like that, anyway.

I almost feel bad for giggling at this but I did. You're not wrong lol. They certainly have their hands full so we can happily go about our business.

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An official would have noticed the house smelled like a toilet and would have to notice the size and development of the kids did not match expectations for their ages.

 

 

They probably would've been able to clean up their house once or twice a year to get it at least within the lower bounds of acceptable, and kids' sizes don't mean jack. Some kids are going to be short - someone has to be in the 1st percentile, someone in the 2nd percentile, etc. So, yeah, my 10yo has been consistently at the 5th percentile, and the WIC people were consistently shocked that he's not anemic because he's so pale, but being short and pale does not make someone abused... but hey, let's throw additional scrutiny on families just because they have short genes and pale-white genes etc and they happen to have special needs. 

Edited by luuknam
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Yeah, but I think the idea behind the bill is that, if something is truly wrong, it will be obvious. It is possible they would not care one jot about what is going on once they walked through the door and saw nothing out of the ordinary going on. If, for example, this had been the procedure for the Turpin family (though that was not in Maryland) one short visit and a handful of questions would have revealed that something seriously messed up was going on here. An official would have noticed the house smelled like a toilet and would have to notice the size and development of the kids did not match expectations for their ages. I am assuming there has to be additional markers that simply could not be quickly covered up if appointments were a twice-yearly certainty. I am sure this was the spirit behind proposing this bill; I doubt they have even thought beyond this knee-jerk response to consider, “Well what does fruitful homeschooling actually look like?†Presumably, there’s substantial grey area existing between an obvious, clear case of neglect and abuse vs. “Spelling bee champion†traditionalist homeschoolers.

 

The bolded is a job for a doctor, not some local education official. When a child is outside the norm for his/her age it is FAR more likely to be the result of a medical disorder than starvation & abuse. And medical tests can identify "red flags" for deliberate malnourishment like those poor Turpin  children experienced.

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Yeah, but I think the idea behind the bill is that, if something is truly wrong, it will be obvious. It is possible they would not care one jot about what is going on once they walked through the door and saw nothing out of the ordinary going on. If, for example, this had been the procedure for the Turpin family (though that was not in Maryland) one short visit and a handful of questions would have revealed that something seriously messed up was going on here. An official would have noticed the house smelled like a toilet and would have to notice the size and development of the kids did not match expectations for their ages. I am assuming there has to be additional markers that simply could not be quickly covered up if appointments were a twice-yearly certainty. I am sure this was the spirit behind proposing this bill; I doubt they have even thought beyond this knee-jerk response to consider, “Well what does fruitful homeschooling actually look like?†Presumably, there’s substantial grey area existing between an obvious, clear case of neglect and abuse vs. “Spelling bee champion†traditionalist homeschoolers.

 

When I was 18 and graduated from high school, on several occasions people were way off on their assumptions of my age.  Once a wait person gave me the 12 and under menu in a restaurant.  I was always under size for both weight and height based on charts, but I was healthy.  There is nothing that could be done about my size.  Would my parents be accused of something?  KWIM?  Is it the job of a school official to judge the size and physical development of children?  That's a little too much overstepping I think.

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This Maryland bill will not be going to hearing this session, according to information posted on MDHSDA website.

 

Thank goodness.

 

ETA - Delegate Ebersole now says his name was erroneously added as a co-sponsor, according to information posted on HSLDA website.

 

These things usually die.  Pretty much every year SOMETHING gets proposed related to homeschooling in our state and it dies before anyone gives it the time of day (which is sometimes sucky because sometimes the proposals would help us out).

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I don't even think it would resolve that.

 

The dad was some kind of all-up con. He was respected at his job. They went on vacations. They probably had a way to deal with people over and cover stuff up. 

 

I think a medical appointment would be much more fruitful than a home visit even in the Turpin case.

 

I saw some of those pics.  While they were dressed a little goofy (by my standards) I would have never known anything was off based on those pictures. 

 

Truth be told, a lot of kids will not throw their own parents under the bus.  But on the other hand a lot of kids say goofy things even when nothing is wrong.  Happened to me once at the dentist.  We have a pretty relaxed "schedule".  We homeschool.  Ya know so we don't have the typical morning routine.  That came out sounding pretty strange when my young kid talked about it.  Luckily the hygienist just laughed it off and said once her toddler told a doctor she broke his arm (long story about how that came out of him like that, but she had not literally injured him, but that's what he said). 

 

Eh...I have become a heck of a lot more confident over the years.  At this point..please come here and tell me I'm not doing a good job.  I'm doing a kick @$$ job and I'm finally getting some outside validation of that.  But years ago, geesh I was a wreck.  LOL 

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Yeah, but I think the idea behind the bill is that, if something is truly wrong, it will be obvious. It is possible they would not care one jot about what is going on once they walked through the door and saw nothing out of the ordinary going on. If, for example, this had been the procedure for the Turpin family (though that was not in Maryland) one short visit and a handful of questions would have revealed that something seriously messed up was going on here. An official would have noticed the house smelled like a toilet and would have to notice the size and development of the kids did not match expectations for their ages. I am assuming there has to be additional markers that simply could not be quickly covered up if appointments were a twice-yearly certainty. I am sure this was the spirit behind proposing this bill; I doubt they have even thought beyond this knee-jerk response to consider, “Well what does fruitful homeschooling actually look like?†Presumably, there’s substantial grey area existing between an obvious, clear case of neglect and abuse vs. “Spelling bee champion†traditionalist homeschoolers.

 

Is it now impossible for spelling bee champions to be abused?  Or for non-traditionalist (whatever traditionalist means in this context) homeschoolers to win spelling bees?   :laugh:

 

Jesting aside, I don't see why it's preferable for school district workers to screen for abuse in-home visits and not just have regular annual or bi-annual visits with a skilled medical professional.  

 

Abusers can put on a show pretty much anywhere.  But one of the main things abusers do is avoid taking their children to see a doctor.  There's a reason for that.  Because doctors actually have a pretty good chance of spotting serious issues.   

 

ETA about requiring medical visits:  As a bonus, it checks off a lot of positives in my view.  Plenty of non-abused kids could benefit from medical care they may not be currently getting.  It's also not, if funded, an onerous thing to add to parents.  Because MOST parents are taking their children to see medical professionals at least every 2 years already.  

Edited by LucyStoner
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They probably would've been able to clean up their house once or twice a year to get it at least within the lower bounds of acceptable, and kids' sizes don't mean jack. Some kids are going to be short - someone has to be in the 1st percentile, someone in the 2nd percentile, etc. So, yeah, my 10yo has been consistently at the 5th percentile, and the WIC people were consistently shocked that he's not anemic because he's so pale, but being short and pale does not make someone abused... but hey, let's throw additional scrutiny on families just because they have short genes and pale-white genes etc and they happen to have special needs.

 

I do not think one could clean up the house that has been used as a toilet to a degree that escapes notice by an observer. We bought one home to flip that had been impregnated with dog urine right down to the sub-floor. Even replacing the entire carpet did not completely rectify the smell of urine. That is merely the damage that could be done by ONE dog.

 

Some of the Turpin kids were in their late twenties. Of course a kid can be outside of typical; my own sister was like this - extremely tiny and physically underdeveloped. But if I saw a family with 13 kids from baby age to adulthood and they are all no heavier than a folding chair and looking twice as fragile, it would be something to flag for further investigation. And if a parent has been legitimately treating their child who has special needs, then that would be all that was needed to clear the parent from a red flag were one issued.

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I saw some of those pics. While they were dressed a little goofy (by my standards) I would have never known anything was off based on those pictures.

 

Truth be told, a lot of kids will not throw their own parents under the bus. But on the other hand a lot of kids say goofy things even when nothing is wrong. Happened to me once at the dentist. We have a pretty relaxed "schedule". We homeschool. Ya know so we don't have the typical morning routine. That came out sounding pretty strange when my young kid talked about it. Luckily the hygienist just laughed it off and said once her toddler told a doctor she broke his arm (long story about how that came out of him like that, but she had not literally injured him, but that's what he said).

 

Eh...I have become a heck of a lot more confident over the years. At this point..please come here and tell me I'm not doing a good job. I'm doing a kick @$$ job and I'm finally getting some outside validation of that. But years ago, geesh I was a wreck. LOL

But the bolded is surely why the bill was written to be a home visit and not just “bring the kids to the evaluation.†Because, I agree, if everyone gets washed up and put in matching ugly outfits, they will look nothing worse than skinny kids whose parents have no sense of style. But I think that is THE point of having it take place at home - deplorable conditions would be hard to rectify with even a month’s notice.

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Is it now impossible for spelling bee champions to be abused? Or for non-traditionalist (whatever traditionalist means in this context) homeschoolers to win spelling bees? :laugh:

 

Jesting aside, I don't see why it's preferable for school district workers to screen for abuse in-home visits and not just have regular annual or bi-annual visits with a skilled medical professional.

 

Abusers can put on a show pretty much anywhere. But one of the main things abusers do is avoid taking their children to see a doctor. There's a reason for that. Because doctors actually have a pretty good chance of spotting serious issues.

 

ETA about requiring medical visits: As a bonus, it checks off a lot of positives in my view. Plenty of non-abused kids could benefit from medical care they may not be currently getting. It's also not, if funded, an onerous thing to add to parents. Because MOST parents are taking their children to see medical professionals at least every 2 years already.

I would not be against this but obviously this particular bill is not about requiring medical evaluations. And I do know people who would go bananas if the state were to require their kids to be medically evaluated because then they would force evil vaccines upon them or make them see an actual doctor for XYZ problem instead of treating it with Lavender Oil and tincture of Horse Chestnut. ðŸ˜

 

And I’m sure you know my spelling bee remark was just a rhetorical device for comparison purposes. If I tried to make my son do a spelling bee, he would probably call CPS himself and claim abuse. 😆

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But the bolded is surely why the bill was written to be a home visit and not just “bring the kids to the evaluation.†Because, I agree, if everyone gets washed up and put in matching ugly outfits, they will look nothing worse than skinny kids whose parents have no sense of style. But I think that is THE point of having it take place at home - deplorable conditions would be hard to rectify with even a month’s notice.

I don't think the whole house was awful.

 

And still, do we do home visits from the *school district* for every child because they could be dressed nicely and sent off to school? If this is the reasoning and the standard, then you're going to have to send the government in some capacity into everyone's home to check for possible abuse.

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I would not be against this but obviously this particular bill is not about requiring medical evaluations. And I do know people who would go bananas if the state were to require their kids to be medically evaluated because then they would force evil vaccines upon them or make them see an actual doctor for XYZ problem instead of treating it with Lavender Oil and tincture of Horse Chestnut. ðŸ˜

 

And I’m sure you know my spelling bee remark was just a rhetorical device for comparison purposes. If I tried to make my son do a spelling bee, he would probably call CPS himself and claim abuse. 😆

I'm provax, pro doctors generally, don't use oils and I've disagreed with drs on a couple of things as far as treatment for my kids. It would be interesting if I was required to comply with them on some things in order to be judged a fit parent.

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We don't take the kids to doctors (or take ourselves to doctors) unless they are ill after the first part of babyhood.  If the government wants to force taking kids to doctors, all kids (because why would homeschooling make the kid less or more in need of doctor visits?), well I just don't see that happening in most states.

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I don't think the whole house was awful.

 

And still, do we do home visits from the *school district* for every child because they could be dressed nicely and sent off to school? If this is the reasoning and the standard, then you're going to have to send the government in some capacity into everyone's home to check for possible abuse.

Yes, I agree that is one reason I think it cannot be upheld legally.

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I received a response from my representative: 

 


Thank you for contacting me regarding HB-1798 County Boards of Education - Home Instruction Program - Observation of Instruction and Reporting of Abuse and Neglect.  This bill is currently assigned to the Ways and Means Committee.  More information on this bill can be found here: http://mgaleg.maryland.gov/webmga/frmMain.aspx?pid=billpage&stab=01&id=hb1798&tab=subject3&ys=2018RS

I am firmly opposed to this bill.  I believe it is cost prohibitive - requiring home-school liaisons to drive and make visits twice a year is a significant financial burden.  Current law already addresses the concern this bill is supposedly about: "COMAR 13A. 10. 01.E" already allows homeschool liaisons to observe, but the location of observation must be agreed upon with both parties. Additionally, homeschool liaisons are already required to report suspicion of neglect or abuse to the proper authorities for the State of Maryland.

Finally, the constitutionality of this bill is shaky at best.  Entering a person’s home with no probable cause is a violation of the Fourth Amendment, and would set dangerous precedent no matter how noble the intention appears to be.

"Homeschoolers, who are already taking on the herculean task of being educators and parents at the same time, don’t need more nonsense interfering with their ability to provide meaningful instruction to their children.†–Red Maryland

I appreciate you taking the time to reach out to me on this important issue.  Please do not hesitate to contact our office again should you need to do so.

Sincerely,

Delegate Kevin B. Hornberger
Chair, Cecil County Delegation
Ways & Means Committee
Lowe House Office Building, Room 410
Annapolis, MD 21401

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I do not think one could clean up the house that has been used as a toilet to a degree that escapes notice by an observer. We bought one home to flip that had been impregnated with dog urine right down to the sub-floor. Even replacing the entire carpet did not completely rectify the smell of urine. That is merely the damage that could be done by ONE dog.

 

 

So, you just claim that the previous owners had a million cats/dogs and that despite your best efforts, the house still smells. If you've bothered to make the house look reasonably presentable otherwise, and you can do the whole "put on a friendly face" etc thing, then I'm sure plenty of people would happily swallow that story. 

 

From the Turpin pictures I don't recall them looking like starvation victims. Skinny, yes, but not worth requiring a doctor's note for. And whether it's 1 kid or 13 doesn't really matter, since they'd likely have the same short, skinny, pale genes. It's bad enough that society seems to think taller is better, we don't need any more discrimination. 

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I do not think one could clean up the house that has been used as a toilet to a degree that escapes notice by an observer. We bought one home to flip that had been impregnated with dog urine right down to the sub-floor. Even replacing the entire carpet did not completely rectify the smell of urine. That is merely the damage that could be done by ONE dog.

 

Some of the Turpin kids were in their late twenties. Of course a kid can be outside of typical; my own sister was like this - extremely tiny and physically underdeveloped. But if I saw a family with 13 kids from baby age to adulthood and they are all no heavier than a folding chair and looking twice as fragile, it would be something to flag for further investigation. And if a parent has been legitimately treating their child who has special needs, then that would be all that was needed to clear the parent from a red flag were one issued.

 

 

yes but those adults wouldn't be part of an educational inquiry so don't need to be present assuming an in house lesson is the law.  So that would be a huge chunk of those kids that they never set eyes on.  Without all the kids, them being small is even less noticeable.

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I haven't read the thread but all I can think, if some unknown to my kids person showed up in my house, I an guarantee there would be no teaching occurring for said person to observe.  My not in school kid would run crazy, my in school kids that I actually teach would be peppering the observer with untold number of questions and my kids who are old enough to mostly teach themselves would be off hiding from the commotion.

 

My kids would never sit and pretend the observer wasn't there so that the observer could attempt to see how things run normally.  I think the bill is nuts.

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I saw some of those pics.  While they were dressed a little goofy (by my standards) I would have never known anything was off based on those pictures. 

 

Truth be told, a lot of kids will not throw their own parents under the bus.  But on the other hand a lot of kids say goofy things even when nothing is wrong.  Happened to me once at the dentist.  We have a pretty relaxed "schedule".  We homeschool.  Ya know so we don't have the typical morning routine.  That came out sounding pretty strange when my young kid talked about it.  Luckily the hygienist just laughed it off and said once her toddler told a doctor she broke his arm (long story about how that came out of him like that, but she had not literally injured him, but that's what he said). 

 

Eh...I have become a heck of a lot more confident over the years.  At this point..please come here and tell me I'm not doing a good job.  I'm doing a kick @$$ job and I'm finally getting some outside validation of that.  But years ago, geesh I was a wreck.  LOL 

 

My kid at around age 5 had the habit of saying "Mom, are we ever going to have lunch today?" whenever he was hungry, which was often around 3 p.m., which invariably caused everyone around to turn and stare at me.  I learned to respond "That's funny, at 12:30 when I gave you that grilled cheese sandwich, with the soup, and the apples, and the carrots, and the oreos for dessert, I thought I was feeding you lunch.  Would you like a snack when we get home?" 

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yes but those adults wouldn't be part of an educational inquiry so don't need to be present assuming an in house lesson is the law. So that would be a huge chunk of those kids that they never set eyes on. Without all the kids, them being small is even less noticeable.

What would they do with them, though? Lock them in a closet? If the older kids conceived of a break-out plan, this would be their opportunity.

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What would they do with them, though? Lock them in a closet? If the older kids conceived of a break-out plan, this would be their opportunity.

 

 

Take them out of the house.  Surely, if such a ridiculous law was passed you don't think both parents would be required to be present.  Only the one doing the actual teaching on paper would need to be there.  One of them attended college courses if I recall.  They all traveled as a family.  Why would it be difficult for one parent to take the kids that are not required to be there out for a few hours?  That seems the logical thing for an abuser to do if they are forced to allow someone into their home and actually comply with that. 

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So, you just claim that the previous owners had a million cats/dogs and that despite your best efforts, the house still smells. If you've bothered to make the house look reasonably presentable otherwise, and you can do the whole "put on a friendly face" etc thing, then I'm sure plenty of people would happily swallow that story.

 

From the Turpin pictures I don't recall them looking like starvation victims. Skinny, yes, but not worth requiring a doctor's note for. And whether it's 1 kid or 13 doesn't really matter, since they'd likely have the same short, skinny, pale genes. It's bad enough that society seems to think taller is better, we don't need any more discrimination.

It still seems to me that there is no way someone could have come into their home, made some observations, and then left with not a question in their heads that the situation here was normal. I have observed far smaller families that gave me pause big time. I can think of two such families off the bat that, if I were employed to snuff out such things, I would have someone tail/investigate to see if something is going on. Sure, maybe nothing was going on. Maybe they were just “like that.†Maybe not. In one case, the kids were all excessively timid and listless. In the other, the kids were extremely violent and macabre.

 

I know in the case of the Turpins, they did sometimes go out together, as for the Vegas vow renewals and the trip to Disney. But nobody noticing something seems wrong at Disney is evidence of nothing. Who pays attention to other vacationers or looks for evidence of abuse in that setting? Even if someone thought to themselves, “Wow that looks like a great big family of very thin children,†who would be proactive about that observation in that setting and alert authorities or tail the family? Pretty much not a single living soul would do that. Most people feel “strangers†are non of their business.

Edited by Quill
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I would not be against this but obviously this particular bill is not about requiring medical evaluations. And I do know people who would go bananas if the state were to require their kids to be medically evaluated because then they would force evil vaccines upon them or make them see an actual doctor for XYZ problem instead of treating it with Lavender Oil and tincture of Horse Chestnut. ðŸ˜

 

And I’m sure you know my spelling bee remark was just a rhetorical device for comparison purposes. If I tried to make my son do a spelling bee, he would probably call CPS himself and claim abuse. 😆

I think spelling bees can be tantamount to abuse for the conscripted spelling bee coaches (aka moms!) :P

 

Perhaps because I live in a state where naturopathic doctors (NDs) have a 4 year school and a pretty wide area of practice and parity in insurance coverage, I’m privileged to assume that someone who wanted their PCP to be a ND could have one. I get that’s not available everywhere. I have a PCP who is an ND and my sons have seen NDs (though I prefer a particular MD as their pediatrician). Here anyways, an ND could do a pediatric check up.

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I think spelling bees can be tantamount to abuse for the conscripted spelling bee coaches (aka moms!) :P

 

Perhaps because I live in a state where naturopathic doctors (NDs) have a 4 year school and a pretty wide area of practice and parity in insurance coverage, I’m privileged to assume that someone who wanted their PCP to be a ND could have one. I get that’s not available everywhere. I have a PCP who is an ND and my sons have seen NDs (though I prefer a particular MD as their pediatrician). Here anyways, an ND could do a pediatric check up.

If it’s anything like CA’s recent tightening of vaccine exemption laws, N.D.’s would not satisfy the requirements. Only a M.D. or D.O. can sign for a medical exemption

 

 

Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

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I can think of two such families off the bat that, if I were employed to snuff out such things, I would have someone tail/investigate to see if something is going on. Sure, maybe nothing was going on. Maybe they were just “like that.†Maybe not. In one case, the kids were all excessively timid and listless. In the other, the kids were extremely violent and macabre.

 

 

Thing is, if kids are consistently excessively timid and listless, or consistently extremely violent and macabre, then yes, there might be something on. But kids can be weird for a short home visit without it meaning anything. I wouldn't want to report a family because their kids were "excessively timid and listless" for 15 min or an afternoon or w/e. Too many possible causes for that that would not warrant causing them grief by creating a further investigation (maybe the kids are naturally shy and they happened to get one of those colds that were just minor enough to be listless, but not bad enough to be actually sick). As to the extremely violent and macabre... well, that probably depends on what you mean by that (I'm assuming you're not meaning normal siblings getting mad at each other, annoying each other, roughhousing, etc), but yes, that would be a much easier thing to say "yes, this needs further investigation". I don't think you'd need to observe them in their home to see that though... if they're that bad, it'd presumably be noticeable if you had them meet an evaluator anywhere.

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Thing is, if kids are consistently excessively timid and listless, or consistently extremely violent and macabre, then yes, there might be something on. But kids can be weird for a short home visit without it meaning anything. I wouldn't want to report a family because their kids were "excessively timid and listless" for 15 min or an afternoon or w/e. Too many possible causes for that that would not warrant causing them grief by creating a further investigation (maybe the kids are naturally shy and they happened to get one of those colds that were just minor enough to be listless, but not bad enough to be actually sick). As to the extremely violent and macabre... well, that probably depends on what you mean by that (I'm assuming you're not meaning normal siblings getting mad at each other, annoying each other, roughhousing, etc), but yes, that would be a much easier thing to say "yes, this needs further investigation". I don't think you'd need to observe them in their home to see that though... if they're that bad, it'd presumably be noticeable if you had them meet an evaluator anywhere.

Yeah, you make a good point...I think part of what I wonder, though, is - what if someone does see something they think is “off,†but they tell themselves exactly this: “Well, the brother seemed like a wild man and the sister kept compulsively kissing her doll and it seemed odd...but, it was a brief observation; I’m sure they’re fine...the mom seemed nice and the house smelled like cookies...†What if that was *the* chance and no follow-up happened? I mean, it’s all hypothetical now and the bill is dead and I think probably so much the better, but the spirit of the bill’s purpose IS something I would support. Those Turpin kids may be damaged for life. It is so wrong, so horribly wrong, that nobody saw, nobody knew, nobody realized and the parents went on abusing those kids for however many years and years.

 

In some ways, I think this attempt at legislation dovetails with the mass shootings and gun legislation. As a nation, many or most of us are saying, “We cannot ignore the truth of mental illness. Nobody should have all these red flags waving week after week after week, but nobody DOES anything about it. Then, these shootings happen.†Or with gun legislation itself: some are vehemently opposed to anything that looks like a loss of some gun-related freedom, sighting 2nd Amendment, sighting “slippery slope,†sighting how it “won’t stop criminals anyway; it will only hamper the law-abiders.†Well - this proposed legislation reminds me of that. I don’t want to be guilty of the same charges.

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In some ways, I think this attempt at legislation dovetails with the mass shootings and gun legislation. As a nation, many or most of us are saying, “We cannot ignore the truth of mental illness. Nobody should have all these red flags waving week after week after week, but nobody DOES anything about it. Then, these shootings happen.†Or with gun legislation itself: some are vehemently opposed to anything that looks like a loss of some gun-related freedom, sighting 2nd Amendment, sighting “slippery slope,†sighting how it “won’t stop criminals anyway; it will only hamper the law-abiders.†Well - this proposed legislation reminds me of that. I don’t want to be guilty of the same charges.

 

Not at you directly, but honestly, this is part of a bigger problem.

 

The problem is not that we don't know what's wrong. What is wrong is that communities are disintegrating, social services are being strangled, education and any kind of personal development are being defunded.

 

We don't have a problem with knowing that we have problems, or even where those problems are.

 

We have a MASSIVE problem with our collective desire to pretend that these problems are someone else's and that we don't have to pay more money to make a civil society work.

 

People reported many of the mass shooters. Nobody came. It wasn't high priority enough. It wasn't an actual killing going on. No funds. It's not high priority enough.

 

People are reporting the Flint water crisis every day. Nobody goes. It's not high priority enough.

 

My entire state legislature is in contempt of court for educational neglect. Nobody pays. It's not high priority enough.

 

Until something is high priority enough for us to actually spend money on our kids, our hard earned money, for other people's kids, yes poor kids, black kids, kids of junkies, all the kids, it doesn't matter what kind of rules we have.

 

We have no money to take care of kids in this country because "you shouldn't have kids you can't afford" and "I deserve to keep my own darn money!" and "if we keep paying for them, they'll keep popping them out!" So we have a very low corporate and upper class tax rate. My family has always kept a rather obscene amount compared to other people in our social classes in many other countries... my kids get weekly music lessons so I don't have to help out with other peoples' kids going to college. Is that really okay? Is that really right, just because I was healthy enough to go to college? Just because I got lucky?

 

We cannot expect better outcomes for our community just by yelling at underpaid social workers and expecting people to be less crazy than they actually are. Let's not be delusional. This won't happen without actual community which we don't have. Our society is too deeply sick to be cured by a law, particularly by one that violates the fourth amendment.

Edited by Tsuga
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I agree that lack of community is the problem. I'm still trying to figure out what that looks like, but I've been stepping up in a lot of ways I wouldn't have even 6 months ago.

 

Maybe, probably, some of these extreme things could be avoided if we knew each other a little better, and intervened a little harder. Personally supporting families and each other before things got out of hand.

 

I don't know. All I can do is what I can do.

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Yeah, you make a good point...I think part of what I wonder, though, is - what if someone does see something they think is “off,†but they tell themselves exactly this: “Well, the brother seemed like a wild man and the sister kept compulsively kissing her doll and it seemed odd...but, it was a brief observation; I’m sure they’re fine...the mom seemed nice and the house smelled like cookies...†What if that was *the* chance and no follow-up happened? 

 

 

I think it's impossible to catch every case of abuse without the government getting way too over-the-top invasive (and even then, it's not like they'd prevent all abuse, since they're people, so some of them are likely to be abusive themselves). Like others have said, why just homeschoolers? Why not people with kids under school-age as well, or everybody, since plenty of kids attending schools get abused, etc? It's a violation of rights, it's impractical, too expensive, not effective enough, compared to other things that could be done to improve the lives of many children in MD, the US, and/or globally today. Maybe, less police state and more helpful services for people.

 

As to the school shooting thing, some things such as providing free and easily accessible mental health care for all would not violate peoples 2nd or any other amendment rights. Working harder to prevent bullying in schools would be another thing that wouldn't violate any rights. 

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I don't like the idea that your teaching has to be monitored while in progress.  But I would support some sort of interview with the child, and a look at what work they are doing / materials / where the schooling occurs etc.

 

I realize it could end up being on a bad day in some cases. The point should not be to judge whether the homeschool is perfect, but to confirm that education is happening and the kids are all OK.  It should be brief and efficient.  But not so brief that obvious problems are missed.

 

This would still allow some problems to fall through the cracks.  But hopefully the absolute worst situations would meet with interference, and the neglect cases would be improved by the knowledge that someone will be checking on them.

 

I don't think this is singling out homeschool families.  All kids are entitled / required to be given an education, and education is a responsibility of the state.  B&M schools have all sorts of accountability procedures, and the kids in B&M school are seen and interviewed by multiple adults almost daily.

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Thanks everyone for this stimulating discussion. I will be disappearing for now because I fly outta here tomorrow. I wouldn’t want anyone mistaking my silence for abandonment.

 

À la prochaine!

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Thanks everyone for this stimulating discussion. I will be disappearing for now because I fly outta here tomorrow. I wouldn’t want anyone mistaking my silence for abandonment.

 

À la prochaine!

 

A bientot!

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 B&M schools have all sorts of accountability procedures, and the kids in B&M school are seen and interviewed by multiple adults almost daily.

 

That's kind of overstating it. My kids go to great schools, but I would say they have a proper "how are things, really, you can tell me and nothing will happen to you" maybe once a year?

 

They see the art teacher, the librarian, but as children, they don't think on a weekly basis, "maybe she'll respond differently to this discomfort I feel every day in the classroom, than the other teachers have". 

 

I do agree that multiple adults usually provides more sources for a student to get help. But abusers have a lot of control over the abused. "If you say something, your parents will have to move." "If you say something I'll be fired and my family will be hungry." "If you say something..."

 

A system to make sure every kid has a voice could be implemented through schools but I don't think that's what we already have.

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That's kind of overstating it. My kids go to great schools, but I would say they have a proper "how are things, really, you can tell me and nothing will happen to you" maybe once a year?

 

They see the art teacher, the librarian, but as children, they don't think on a weekly basis, "maybe she'll respond differently to this discomfort I feel every day in the classroom, than the other teachers have". 

 

I do agree that multiple adults usually provides more sources for a student to get help. But abusers have a lot of control over the abused. "If you say something, your parents will have to move." "If you say something I'll be fired and my family will be hungry." "If you say something..."

 

A system to make sure every kid has a voice could be implemented through schools but I don't think that's what we already have.

 

My point is that asking homeschoolers to allow an occasional interview with a kid is not asking them for more than what is asked of B&M parents / kids.

 

I wasn't thinking the interview would be "is anyone hurting you."  I don't think that would be appropriate at all.  I was thinking a brief chat with the parent present - hi, how are ya, what do you do for school, where do you do school, do you do it most days, what are some things you've been learning this week, have you read any good books lately, do you enjoy going to the library, what do you do for exercise ....  This should provide a chance for the interviewer to spot red flags - does the child appear undernourished, bruised, does she have age-appropriate language skills, does she ever get out, is school actually happening?  If things are not age-appropriate, then there should be some current documentation of medical issue / diagnosis or other good reason why.

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I don't think this is singling out homeschool families.  All kids are entitled / required to be given an education, and education is a responsibility of the state.  B&M schools have all sorts of accountability procedures, and the kids in B&M school are seen and interviewed by multiple adults almost daily.

 

PUBLIC B&M schools have all sorts of accountability. Private ones do not. Accredited private schools do have to meet the standards of their accrediting agency but accreditation is voluntary.

 

Don't forget that those awful FLDS folks did not homeschool but ran their own private religious schools. Their kids were not protected from abuse simply by virtue of being in a B&M school.

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My point is that asking homeschoolers to allow an occasional interview with a kid is not asking them for more than what is asked of B&M parents / kids.

 

I wasn't thinking the interview would be "is anyone hurting you." I don't think that would be appropriate at all. I was thinking a brief chat with the parent present - hi, how are ya, what do you do for school, where do you do school, do you do it most days, what are some things you've been learning this week, have you read any good books lately, do you enjoy going to the library, what do you do for exercise .... This should provide a chance for the interviewer to spot red flags - does the child appear undernourished, bruised, does she have age-appropriate language skills, does she ever get out, is school actually happening? If things are not age-appropriate, then there should be some current documentation of medical issue / diagnosis or other good reason why.

This is death for unschoolers, lol. My kids are all working above grade level, but until this year would have told you, "We don't do school." Exercise and extracurriculars? They are all in multiple sports, and some do music lessons, but if you asked them what they did yesterday, anyone under 10 (my kids) is going to give an unhelpful variation of "nothing," or "ate ice cream and watched tv."

 

I think a yearly curriculum/portfolio review is enough. Oh, and I'd accept proctored testing.

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My point is that asking homeschoolers to allow an occasional interview with a kid is not asking them for more than what is asked of B&M parents / kids.

 

I wasn't thinking the interview would be "is anyone hurting you."  I don't think that would be appropriate at all.  I was thinking a brief chat with the parent present - hi, how are ya, what do you do for school, where do you do school, do you do it most days, what are some things you've been learning this week, have you read any good books lately, do you enjoy going to the library, what do you do for exercise ....  This should provide a chance for the interviewer to spot red flags - does the child appear undernourished, bruised, does she have age-appropriate language skills, does she ever get out, is school actually happening?  If things are not age-appropriate, then there should be some current documentation of medical issue / diagnosis or other good reason why.

 

Back when my cousins were homeschooled, the superintendent of our district actually met with them once a year for this kind of chat. They were unschooled at times, and did fine.

 

It did not happen at their house.

 

Right now, if you visited my house, you would see a huge hole in the drywall from where an out-of-control kid kicked it, except it was like a kickboxing kick, so it's conveniently at adult punching height. There are potato chip crumbs in the couch crevices and marker scrawls on the walls, some of which say things like "stoopid" and "I hat you". The rug is gone thanks to an unsuccessful stint of "elimination communication." The backyard is full of PVC pipes and boards and looks pretty junky right now.

 

Because I know our story, I can see quite clearly that none of these things add up to abuse or neglect or chaos. But if I didn't know our story, and I were randomly assigned to a house like mine, and the kids were behaving timidly or anxiously or defiantly, what kind of thoughts might I have about that situation? Having seen the things that my fellow homeschoolers label "neglect" on a recent thread here, I am concerned that perhaps the judgments outsiders make aren't always right-- but once a judgment has been made about your family, officially, by a person in authority, it takes a certain kind of weight. I think, for instance, about another thread here with people talking about being reported to CPS, and how I immediately noticed judgmental thoughts about them coming into my head, solely for being reported. How unfair is that? How lonely could that be? How easy is it to find things wrong with parents and families, even loving ones, once they have been labeled potentially negligent or abusive by one person?

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Back when my cousins were homeschooled, the superintendent of our district actually met with them once a year for this kind of chat. They were unschooled at times, and did fine.

 

It did not happen at their house.

 

Right now, if you visited my house, you would see a huge hole in the drywall from where an out-of-control kid kicked it, except it was like a kickboxing kick, so it's conveniently at adult punching height. There are potato chip crumbs in the couch crevices and marker scrawls on the walls, some of which say things like "stoopid" and "I hat you". The rug is gone thanks to an unsuccessful stint of "elimination communication." The backyard is full of PVC pipes and boards and looks pretty junky right now.

 

Because I know our story, I can see quite clearly that none of these things add up to abuse or neglect or chaos. But if I didn't know our story, and I were randomly assigned to a house like mine, and the kids were behaving timidly or anxiously or defiantly, what kind of thoughts might I have about that situation? Having seen the things that my fellow homeschoolers label "neglect" on a recent thread here, I am concerned that perhaps the judgments outsiders make aren't always right-- but once a judgment has been made about your family, officially, by a person in authority, it takes a certain kind of weight. I think, for instance, about another thread here with people talking about being reported to CPS, and how I immediately noticed judgmental thoughts about them coming into my head, solely for being reported. How unfair is that? How lonely could that be? How easy is it to find things wrong with parents and families, even loving ones, once they have been labeled potentially negligent or abusive by one person?

 

That is a risk that faces every family in America at times.  Hopefully individuals are trained to understand the range of normal.  I do not think the person visiting re school should have authority to open a CPS case or remove a child or any of that.  It would be just like any other teacher - a mandated reporter if they see evidence of likely abuse or neglect.  They should be trained to ignore stuff like clutter, kid doodles, and today's potty training miss.

 

We're never going to find the solution that fits every situation.  That doesn't mean we shouldn't have any oversight at all.  My personal standards for what should be legally required of parents are pretty liberal, but I do believe kids should be seen by other adults on a fairly regular basis.  I've read a lot about child abuse, and isolation of the child is a pretty frequent ingredient in the worst cases.  I do not understand people not wanting their kids seen by outsiders.  I will not support it.

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That is a risk that faces every family in America at times.  Hopefully individuals are trained to understand the range of normal.  I do not think the person visiting re school should have authority to open a CPS case or remove a child or any of that.  It would be just like any other teacher - a mandated reporter if they see evidence of likely abuse or neglect.  They should be trained to ignore stuff like clutter, kid doodles, and today's potty training miss.

 

We're never going to find the solution that fits every situation.  That doesn't mean we shouldn't have any oversight at all.  My personal standards for what should be legally required of parents are pretty liberal, but I do believe kids should be seen by other adults on a fairly regular basis.  I've read a lot about child abuse, and isolation of the child is a pretty frequent ingredient in the worst cases.  I do not understand people not wanting their kids seen by outsiders.  I will not support it.

 

How many homeschooled kids are not seen by other adults on a regular basis? Very few, I would guess. My kids were in activities overseen by other adults several times a week...and that seems to be the norm for the families I have known. 

 

I don't care if my kids are seen by outsiders. I don't want us being evaluated by school officials who don't understand what we're doing or how we operate. There's too much chance for misinterpretation.

 

Again, we're not talking about the weird cases we see on the news. We're talking about a typical homeschooling family.

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 We're never going to find the solution that fits every situation.  That doesn't mean we shouldn't have any oversight at all.  My personal standards for what should be legally required of parents are pretty liberal, but I do believe kids should be seen by other adults on a fairly regular basis.  I've read a lot about child abuse, and isolation of the child is a pretty frequent ingredient in the worst cases.  I do not understand people not wanting their kids seen by outsiders.  I will not support it.

 

I think all children should have well-child exams by a M.D./D.O./N.P. on an annual basis and funding should be made available to pay for them for families who don't have insurance. Families who don't comply don't get to claim the child for taxes or any government benefit.

 

That doesn't single out homeschoolers for suspicion simply by virtue of their choice to HS and will reduce the chances of kids falling through the cracks because their parents are abusive, neglectful, or simply in denial about a medical or developmental issue.

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I am not against some accountability, but a law requiring access to our home would not be acceptable to me. I also think it’s just a really stupid way to evaluate. Teaching at our house more and more looks like me telling a kid to get online and look for an answer or explanation. I’m teaching them to fish, because my job is to enable them to launch. I’m less and less involved in the instruction part. I get them signed up for courses, and then I’m mostly a time and record keeper now. Occasionally I get to proofread something. My role wouldn’t look like much. I wonder how they would evaluate a parent who was outsourcing distance courses.

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My point is that asking homeschoolers to allow an occasional interview with a kid is not asking them for more than what is asked of B&M parents / kids.

 

I wasn't thinking the interview would be "is anyone hurting you." I don't think that would be appropriate at all. I was thinking a brief chat with the parent present - hi, how are ya, what do you do for school, where do you do school, do you do it most days, what are some things you've been learning this week, have you read any good books lately, do you enjoy going to the library, what do you do for exercise .... This should provide a chance for the interviewer to spot red flags - does the child appear undernourished, bruised, does she have age-appropriate language skills, does she ever get out, is school actually happening? If things are not age-appropriate, then there should be some current documentation of medical issue / diagnosis or other good reason why.

My youngest participated in our school district’s hybrid schooling as a K. She was a public school student, but did her academics at home with me. The school tried to assess her, but she spoke very quietly because she did not talk to people she didn’t know or feel comfortable with. They tried several times, but gave up because they knew it made her so uncomfortable. She would not have wanted to answer those type of questions for a stranger.

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