The homeschool community is deep in conversation this week over the tragic condition of the 13 Turpin children found in their home in California. While it’s too soon to know the details of all that happened in this case, one thing is clear. There is no defense for the horrendous treatment of these children. We believe that these parents should be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law.
While homeschool parents were quick to see where this conversation would lead in the legislature and mainstream media, our response is focused first on our desire to nurture and protect children. The actions of these parents were clearly criminal. Interviews with the Turpin’s neighbors make it clear that numerous people had suspicions about the treatment of these children, and no one did anything. Neighbors saw the children out after dark, digging through trash cans for food, and no one did anything. This is not a homeschooling problem, it’s criminal behavior.
In Indiana, every citizen is a mandatory reporter. Indiana law makes it clear that we all have a duty to report suspicious or abusive behavior.
If you suspect or know of child abuse, sexual assault, or other maltreatment, contact the Indiana Child Abuse Hotline at 1-800-800-5556 or call 911.
Our hearts break at the treatment of these children and we recognize that many people will use this horrendous case to attack the entire homeschool community. IAHE, along with our sister organization IAHE Action, remains vigilant in our efforts to protect homeschool freedom. But first, we grieve for these children and pray for their recovery.
“Weep With Those Who Weep”
– Romans 12:15
In a simple statistical analysis, it was revealed that those who were homeschooled were significantly less likely to have been sexually abused as minors than were those who were public schooled and those who attended private Christian schools. Further, there was no significant difference in the rate of having been sexually abused as a child between those who were homeschooled and those who attended private non-Christian schools.
Homeschooling and Child Abuse, Child Neglect, and Child Fatalities, Brian Ray, Ph.D.
If a child is being abused by a parent, those parents need to be prosecuted under the existing laws in that state. But we dare not seek to punish all families because of the potential future actions of a few.
All states have a child protective services (CPS) system whose role is to investigate child abuse and neglect accusations. Depending on the outcome of the investigation, CPS may refer the family for special services such as counseling or support groups, bring charges in juvenile court, refer the matter to the police for criminal investigation, or remove the children from the home. If you believe that abuse or criminal neglect is occurring, and if personal intervention with the family is not advisable, a report to the police or CPS is appropriate.
According to research, it has been demonstrated that the states that have the most legal restrictions on homeschooling, do not perform any better on academic achievement tests. So more regulations do not even produce better academics for homeschoolers.
“Keep encouraging one another and building one another up.”
– 1 THESS. 5:11.