A home school horror in California | Arkansas Blog

Wednesday, January 17, 2018

A home school horror in California

Posted By on Wed, Jan 17, 2018 at 8:16 AM

click to enlarge HOUSE OF HORROR: A 'home school' shielded abuse of 13 children in a California family. - NY TIMES
  • HOUSE OF HORROR: A 'home school' shielded abuse of 13 children in a California family.

The horror of 13 children held captive by parents in a California home has an education dimension.

As the New York Times reports:

The private school had a welcoming name. The principal was scientifically minded. But the Sandcastle Day School was a nightmare for the six students enrolled there.

David A. Turpin created the school inside his nondescript stucco home southeast of Los Angeles. But the only ones enrolled there were the six of his 13 children who were school age. And what took place inside was not teaching but torture, the authorities said, after they raided the house over the weekend and found a horrifying scene of emaciated children chained to furniture. The putrid smell overwhelmed them.

By creating such a school of horrors, Mr. Turpin had kept the authorities at bay. His children were never seen by teachers or counselors. Their absences never raised suspicions. On Tuesday, state and local officials were on the defensive as they tried to explain how such things could have occurred in a private school the state had sanctioned.
It is probably (hopefully) reasonably safe to assume the case is an outlier. But the Times also notes:

The case raises questions about whether the state may be too lenient in its approach to home schooling and whether it should have been monitoring Mr. Turpin more closely. In California, almost anyone can open a private school by filing an affidavit with the state. California is one of 14 states that ask parents only to register to create a home school, and in 11 other states, including Texas, parents are not required to submit any documentation at all.
Arkansas makes education compulsory, but home school parents need only submit notice of intent to do so in writing no later than Aug. 15 for the fall semester or Dec. 15 for spring. As we've reported before, limited state oversight of home schools by means of required testing and reports on instruction is coming to an end.

Some, perhaps most, parents of home schoolers have and will continue to make considered choices and act responsibly.  But it doesn't take a horror like that in California to make the point that some parents, contrary to the incessant messaging of the Walton-financed school choice lobby, are not in every single case reliable judges and suppliers of what's best for their children.

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