Wednesday, February 20, 2008

More On The School Withdrawal Bill

Channel 61 posted the written story by Colin Poitras entitled Home-School Support on their website.

An excerpt from that article says this:
State education officials said they have been trying to strike a balance between a parent's right to educate their child and the responsibility of local public school systems to make sure every child under 16 years of age receives an education. Murphy said Connecticut's requirements are much less intrusive than those in nearby states like Massachusetts and New York.
First of all, this is a bold faced lie. They have not been trying to strike a balance! They have been coercing parents and bullying them into compliance with demands that parents are not legally required to comply with. The Department of Education has been directing and encouraging school officials to coerce and harass parents and report parents to DCF - that isn't striking a balance! That is the heavy hand of government threatening parents with taking their children away from them and then filing false claims of abuse and neglect because the DOE and school officials want control - and it is total and utter abuse of authority!

Their above statement from the DOE is also a tired and incorrect statement. No one here really cares what Massachusetts or New York does, we are concerned here with OUR liberties and rights and our laws here in CT. If Massachusetts or New York wants to be heavy handed and controlling then that is what their citizens have to deal with. I say to Mr. Murphy and the DOE, if Massachusetts and New York wanted to jump off a bridge would we do the same? The argument of what other states do is irrelevant here. How can he and the DOE justify the mistreatment and harassment of these parents? These parents have done nothing wrong! Why are schools keeping children on enrollment lists after being specifically instructed by parents to disenroll their child? Who ever said that parents need get approval from the school regarding the parents decision to disenroll their child?

The responsibility of local school systems is not at all what this article has stated. The Department of Education and school administrators are under the false notion that it is their "obligation under the law to educate all children" Actually our State Constitution - does not say that at all! What the state is mandated to do, as was brought out by the Sheff vs. O'Neill lawsuit, was that the state must provide an equal opportunity to receive an adequate education. That's it. Additionally, the state has nothing whatsoever to do with educating all children... only those enrolled in their system. And parents have always had the right to disenroll their children from that system without question. In the words of Governor Rick Perry of Texas, "Every child is entitled to a public education, but public education is not entitled to every child" (Jan. 26, 2005)

Another interesting excerpt to this article is the one made by DCF representative Gary Kleeblatt:
For the record, DCF spokesman Gary Kleeblatt said Tuesday his department no longer investigates complaints of educational neglect from local school systems simply because a child is being home-schooled. The agency will, however, send an investigator if there are other issues suspected behind a child being educated at home, such as possible physical abuse or neglect, bullying or behavioral health concerns, Kleeblatt said.
If what he says is true, perhaps he'd like to explain the handful other cases since the beginning of 2008 that have popped up? Things have improved with DCF, but now the school administrators are finding other means to harass parents by claiming "other issues suspected behind a child being educated at home" . These other issues are falsely alleged in order to get parents to comply with their arbitrary demands and an excuse to obtain DCF complicty in the allegation against the parent to try to make them comply. It is interesting to note that they have added "bullying" concerns in the home. Perhaps this is a notice to all families with sibling rivalry going on that we now all better beware! It is interesting to note that since they are doing such a wonderful job managing bullying in schools that they now want to make sure that they can control the bullying that may happen in your home!

Make no mistake, some of these kids that are being pulled out of public school have special needs and health issues that are not being properly addressed by the school. That is why these parents are pulling them out of school and advocating for them and getting them a proper education and resources. We believe that part of the story here may be the school's attempt to hold onto special education money for these children. In one instance a child who is blind was kept in a resource room all day with hardly anything meaningful to do. The parents objected to this type of treatment for their child and decided to remove her from school to home school her. Now they are being persecuted for doing this! It's outrageous!

There are other instances of schools being totally unresponsive to addressing bullying in school. The parents try to work with the school to solve the problems, but are unsuccessful. Forcing the child to go to school to face taunting and bullying, and even violence, makes things even worse. When a child develops anxiety problems and health problems as a result of bullying the parents finally say, "enough". They advocate for their child and pull him out of school. The school responds with bullying and persecuting the parents! The trauma to the family is unimaginable.

We have even seen cases where parents withdrew their child to to go to private school because the child was attending a public school that was contaminated with mold and was making the child sick. When the parents removed the child from school to a private school, to place him in a safe school building, the parents were threatened with a DCF referral!

And on and on and on.

And the State Department of Education has the audacity to defend these situations with the absolutely lame statement above? Sorry, but parents cannot wait for schools to sort out their own problems with their inability to address poor treatment of special needs kids, and other issues like unresponsiveness to bullying, or even providing substandard education or an unsafe educational environment. Parents currently do have the right and have always had the right to remove their children from schools that do not work for their children. It is the parents obligation to provide a safe effective educational environment for their kids and they do not need the approval of an apparently failing system to do so.

This is by far not a case of determining if the child's needs are being met - or if the parents are capable of providing an adequate education. This is absolutely and totally about school control. It is the Department of Education and school officials attempt at eroding parental rights and giving schools the means to usurp parental authority by "granting them permission" to withdraw their children from school.

All one has to do is look at the cases involved. Look at the schools' behavior. Look at why the parents are choosing to part ways with public schools in the first place. Look at what they have been put through. From what we have seen the schools have been more interested in control then what is best for the child.

And you know what is most disturbing? The Department of Education and school officials have been harassing parents who really care about their children's education and well being, instead of those who don't give a whit at all. How is that for irony?