'House of Horrors' child abuse cases reveal how offenders nationwide use homeschooling to hide their crimes

"Most of the roughly 2 million children estimated to be homeschooled in the United States are properly educated and cared for by their parents or guardians, experts on the subject say." - Fox News

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Bert Perry's picture

 As a homeschooling dad, I've been following cases like this for years for obvious reasons, and one thing that strikes me is that in every case I've seen, social services or other government/police/etc. had already been involved at some level.  In the infamous Bonita Jacks case in Washington, DC, seven social services staffers were outright fired for their failure to act on obvious cause for intervention.  In the Wisconsin case, "all the neighbors knew", there were numerous code violations where authorities were summoned, and....bupkus.  In the Mitchelle Blair case, the perp's aunt is a retired nurse--a mandatory reporter--was aware of clear signs something was wrong, and....bupkus.  See a pattern here?

So the question I've got for those who want to increase surveillance is "what are you doing with the information you have, and would it even help if you had more?"   If we start with overloaded social services workers, and then give them more paperwork to handle and a lot more routine visits to do with close to a million homeschooling families, my first guess is that you'd actually reduce the number of follow-up visits and intervention cases for those families that desperately need it.

Aspiring to be a stick in the mud.

pvawter's picture

Bert, I agree, and would simply add that with the number of abuse incidents happening at schools under the noses of the trained professionals, I'm not at all convinced that there would be a significant positive impact in their providing greater supervision of homeschoolers. Add to that the fact that increased involvement by school officials would likely lead to more false allegations of abuse that would be detrimental to the rights of law-abiding homeschoolers, and you can color me skeptical.

Bert Perry's picture

It strikes me that if indeed I am correct that social services is overloaded, the first place to suggest fixing things is to see about re-allocating or increasing resources so that the follow-ups can be done.

One particular place of interest to me, having watched it work out in my own extended family, is situations where social services starts to take over medical care, favoring the testimony of one set of doctors (theirs of course) vs. that of the doctors who have been caring for a child previously.  That was the case for my brother-in-law and his family, and it was the case for Justina Pelletier.  In Pelletier's case, it was fascinating to me because the obvious resolution to the case--face to face meeting between the competing sets of doctors with a plan to resolve differences (in that case a simple muscle biopsy, I believe) was never really attempted.  Instead, far more person-hours were spent litigating the matter.

In my brother-in-law's case, the circumstances were not as egregious as in Pelletier's, but from what I heard, it was (again) a case where social services had "their" guys and ignored the doctors who had been caring for the twins for years, including before they were adopted.

My gut feeling is that in many jurisdictions, a much deeper level of analysis is needed to get these investigations off the ground successfully.  And knowing a bunch of kids who are impacted by these problems, that's a level of investigation I'm willing to pay a little bit more for.  (take it out of the funding we're giving Planned Infanticide or something)

Aspiring to be a stick in the mud.