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Living in the Loopholes


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PowerPoint presentation for Samantha Field and Carmen Green's workshop at the Courage Conference in Raleigh, NC, 2017.

Published in: Education
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Living in the Loopholes

  1. 1. Living in the Loopholes Home Education and Abuse
  2. 2. Carmen and Samantha’s Stories
  3. 3. Creating the Loopholes how did we get here?
  4. 4. Making the Legislation  Homeschooling laws were grafted onto pre-existing education laws.  Formed by parental-rights and religious-freedom lobbyists–not experts in education, family, or child-protection law.  Legislatures assumed existent safety nets would be sufficient.  But to function, safety nets must be accessible.  In our legal system, parents have the strongest legal rights.
  5. 5. Barriers to the Safety Net  In most states there is:  No contact with mandatory reporters  No assurance that education is happening  No background checks for violence or sexual abuse  No requirement to notify anyone of a child’s existence
  6. 6. A Culture that Exacerbates Danger  Conferences and curriculum promote religious fundamentalism.  Advanced Training Institute  Vision Forum  No Greater Joy  Baby Wise  Quiverful  Stay-at-home-Daughter Movement  Ingrained fear of CPS  Intentional seclusion and distrust of authorities
  7. 7. Seeing the Loopholes how can we identify abuse in homeschools?
  8. 8. Types of Abuse  Educational Neglect  Medical Neglect  Identification Abuse  Physical Neglect  Physical Abuse
  9. 9. Educational Neglect  Do the children do school work every or most week days?  Are they performing at, or within a few years of, grade level?  Can older children read? At an appropriate level?  Do they understand age-appropriate math concepts?  Are they aware of commonly known historical figures or events?  Do children study all typical subjects?
  10. 10. Medical Neglect  Have the children seen a doctor? Ever? Within the last year?  Do they receive appropriate medical treatment when ill?  Do they seem to struggle with treatable chronic conditions (asthma, etc)?  Do children express distress toward or fear of the medical field?
  11. 11. Identification Abuse  Parents may not acquire SSN, birth certificate, etc.  Identification documents may exist, but may be withheld by parents.  Transcripts may not be created, or they may be destroyed.
  12. 12. Physical Neglect  Food deprivation  How does the child interact with food?  Do they eat unusual portion sizes?  Do they appear to be a reasonable weight?  Do parents scoff at food allergies?  Are parents either forbidding the child from becoming vegan/vegetarian, or forcing veganism/vegetarianism/keto/paleo despite nutritional deficiencies?  Hygiene  Do children have access to hygiene products, showers?  Do children have reasonable hygiene habits?
  13. 13. Corporal Punishment  How does the child describe corporal punishment?  What sorts of implements are used?  Is the victim older than 5? 10? 15?  How often does corporal punishment occur?  Does community leadership promote Ezzos, Dobson, Pearls?
  14. 14. Physical Abuse  Are restraints used–shackles, rope, etc.?  Look for typical signs of abuse.  Unexplained bruising, breaks sprains, etc.  Abusers may deny children shelter from the elements.
  15. 15. Closing the Loopholes how can you help?
  16. 16. Step #1: Learn  Listen  Listen  LISTEN  Make sure homeschooled children know you value them.  Pay attention to home educators in your community  Are they insular?  What materials are popular?  Are people who don’t homeschool viewed with suspicion?
  17. 17. Step #2: Practical Actions  Be a friend  Can you provide opportunities to get out of the house? Field trips? Play dates?  Support and encourage their ambitions, dreams, goals, and gifts.  Be a resource  Can you loan books? Be a tutor?  Help them get their driver’s liscense, take the SAT, apply to college, etc.  Call the authorities.
  18. 18. Step #3: Change the status quo  Prioritize listening to alumni over home educators  Coalition for Responsible Home Education  Homeschooling’s Invisible Children  Homeschoolers Anonymous  Be informed on your state’s legislation, or lack thereof  Are there exemptions?  Is there any oversight? How is it enforced? Is it enforced?  Stay up-to-date on new legislation  HSLDA and home educators are extremely well-motivated.  We all need to be invested in the education and well-being of our children.
  19. 19. Questions & Answers