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Home Schooling Isn’t to Blame for the Sandy Hook Shooting

AFP/Timothy Clary

Marge Fenelon - published on 10/01/14

Connecticut looks to tighten state control over home-schooling families

When I tell people that I home schooled my children, most immediately assume that I did so out of fear and because I wanted to isolate them from the rest of the world. I was labeled “backwards,” and it was guaranteed that my children would turn out to be social misfits. The nay-sayers shook their heads and waited for their proverbial “I told you so” moment. It never came.

I just graduated our last Mohican from high school. My children are all productive, conscientious, and well-liked adults. Two have already graduated from college and successfully entered the work force. The other two are making their way through college, and I have no doubt they’ll enjoy the same successes as the first two. They aren’t social misfits; they’re responsible, trustworthy adults.

I’m not anti-school, as some might like to think. On the contrary, I had a wonderful experience in school, and would have loved the same for my children. If, that is, I could have found a school that would teach concrete academics and encourage them in their Catholic Faith. I didn’t find one.

Our kids were enrolled in the public school until our oldest was in fifth grade, and we were relatively happy, until things started sliding down hill. Suddenly, our children (grades K5, 3, and 5) were mandated to take part in “sessions” with a newly appointed school social worker. From this, one of my kids came home terrified because he’d understood that he should expect one of his uncles to fondle his private parts at family gatherings. That’s just the tip of the iceberg of ridiculous—and, I believe, dangerous—notions put into their heads.

I asked the school repeatedly to work with me, to allow my kids to opt out of these “sessions.”  I even volunteered to run a program for my children and the other children whose parents wished them to opt out. To my face, the school administration smiled and agreed. In reality, the notes kept coming home: “Dear Parents, today your child met with the social worker to discuss….” I was willing to work with the school, but they weren’t willing to work with me.

The final straw came with a double blow. The first was when our oldest son injured his spine during gym class. The class was practicing tumbling, and he came down on his head. For the first few minutes, he was unable to move and felt tingling in his neck. The gym teacher told him to “suck it up,” get up, and get back in line. I was never notified of the injury. Until his fourth-hour teacher called me secretly because she couldn’t stand watching him “with his eyes glazed over from the pain.”

Worse was the evening I discovered the same child shuffling around the bathroom with the door closed. After multiple queries about what was going on, I finally walked in on him because I sensed something was very wrong. There he was, the contents of our medicine cabinet strewn about, a notebook and pen beside him. He was obviously panicked over my abrupt entry. When I pressed him for an explanation, he told me that he’d been assigned to make a list of all the medications – over the counter and prescribed – in his parents’ medicine cabinet and turn it in the next day. He’d been instructed not to let his parents know about the assignment.

That was it. I pulled my kids out of school the next day. I had no problem with schools in principle; I had a big problem with schools circumventing my parental authority and planting absurd thoughts and fears in my children’s heads. (That’s not to mention the watering down of academic standards I’d already begun to observe years before.)

That’s why I’m shuddering over the Sandy Hook Advisory Commission’s move to grasp “tighter control” over homeschooling families in Connecticut. The commission, appointed by Connecticut Gov. Daniel Malloy (D-WFP), has the task of preventing another Sandy Hook shooting in their state. They’ve decided that the key is to screen home-schooled children for behavioral health issues, and to require those who exhibit such issues to report annually to the special education directors of their school districts.

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