What started out as a child abuse case, has led to homeschooling essentially being outlawed in the State of California. This is a classic case of how one “bad apple” can ruin it for everyone. In order to get the full story, you need to go to the court documents. The msm is only reporting on the end result, and not at all on how things got to where they are now.
A court document filed November 20, 2007, gives the background of this case involving the Long family. The Long family have 8 children whom they homeschool. According to this document, the family’s contact with CPS started in 1987 when the oldest daughter claimed brutal, physical abuse by her father which resulted in the daughter being hospitalized and the father being arrested.
In 1989, a petition was filed in which another daughter claimed she had been sexually abused. This claim was backed up by a physician and the mother testified that one of the daughters had been sexually abused at the age of four by a “friend” of the family.
Another petition was filed in November 1993 that claimed:
the parents’ home was dangerous to the minors in that it included, but was not limited to, approximately 60 guns, rifles and/or assault weapons; black powder in an unsecured location; and live ammunition, shells, and magazines, all of which was within access of the minors, and the guns and ammunition were in close proximity to each other. Further, the minors’ home was found to be in [*9] an endangering filthy, unsanitary and unsafe condition, and the minors were chronically filthy, and unsupervised late at night. Additionally, the parents unlawfully concealed the whereabouts of the children from the Department and father willfully gave false
information to the court concerning the whereabouts of the children. Eventually all of the minors were released to mother’s care. Jurisdiction was terminated in September 1994.
Next, a petition was filed in February 2001 on behalf of the minor Elizabeth L., who was fifteen years old at that time. The sustained allegations are that father inappropriately physically disciplined Elizabeth on numerous occasions; Elizabeth demonstrated numerous behavior problems which the parents could not handle, including her not wanting to follow home rules and her constantly running away, and Elizabeth’s physical and emotional health were at risk. Elizabeth was placed in long term foster care and jurisdiction was terminated in June 2003 when she became 18 years of age.
Thus, the family has had problems sufficient to involve the dependency system for 20 years.
The current case came about when daughter Rachel, 14, ran away from home and called the Los Angeles Police Department wanting to be picked up because “she was tired, hungry and had no place to live.” The report goes on to say:
Rachel told the Department social worker that she was tired of living under father’s house rules. She stated father would hit her with a stick, hanger or shoe if she did not follow his rules. She said he will not let her wear pants at home and she had to wear skirts or dresses, not let her wear makeup, and not let her attend public school. Rachel also reported that Leonard C. repeatedly molested her when she was between the ages of four and nine. He repeatedly groped her and would come into her room when she was in bed and put his finger
into her vagina. She said she told the parents about it when she was 12 years old but they did not believe her. She stated the man still comes to the house occasionally and she worries that he might begin molesting her sister Mary Grace. She stated she engages in selfmutilation (cutting herself with a razor blade) and has problems with [*11] depression, but her parents will not send her to therapy because father tells her that speaking with him is all the therapy she needs. She stated she would never be all right with father now
because she has been sexually active. She stated she would continue to run away if she is forced to live at home. The social worker reported that Rachel’s situation was similar to her sister Elizabeth’s, who also ran away, wanted to attend public school, objected to father’s house rules, was removed from the home for physical and emotional abuse, and complained that father dominates everyone in the house, including mother.
The court ruled that Rachel be detained and enrolled in school. The report then describes a visit to the Long house which resulted in an order to detain two younger siblings. Mother fled with the two younger siblings which then resulted in a warrant being issued for her arrest.
The amended petition filed March 1, 2006, includes quite a list of allegations of abuse and neglect including “the parents’ failure to keep the children in regular attendance at school.”
The guardian ad litem that was appointed for the two younger children told the court that it needed “to order that the
minor children be enrolled in a school and that the parents assure regular attendance at such school. The attorney asserted regular attendance was not only for the educational benefit of the minors but also because of the safety and welfare protection provided to them by school day interaction with mandated reporters.”
Testimony from the hearing resulted in the court directing “the attorneys to provide it with points and authorities on the legality of the parents’ home schooling their children, and it indicated it wanted a declaration from Sunland Christian School regarding [*46] the school’s accreditation.”
The court ruled that
With respect to the children’s education, the court ordered the parents to ensure that Jonathan and Mary Grace are properly home schooled by ensuring the education materials are updated, and by having the Lynwood school district investigate their home schooling [*50] and give its approval. The court indicated it believed the parents have the legal right to home school their children assuming the home schooling education is appropriate. The court ordered that when Mary Grace and Jonathan are ready for high school, the parents interview the minors for their input as to whether the minors would rather attend home schooling or public school, and if the minors indicated a preference for public school, then the parents are to enroll them in public school.
This ruling led to an appeal.
Apparently, Rachel went to live with her sister Elizabeth. Her progress report was very positive. However, the progress report for the two siblings still at home was not. The report gives instances of how the parents were not cooperative with the social worker or school district officials that visited the home. The guardian ad litem renewed her request that the two children be enrolled in private or public school “to ensure their physical and emotional safety.” The hearing was denied, but the court said it would consider it if there was evidence that the children were not being properly homeschooled. It was at this point that the parents claimed that they homeschooled for their religious beliefs.
The six-month progress report states that Rachel had run away from her sister’s home and her whereabouts were unknown. As far as the two younger siblings at home, there are more statements that the parents were not cooperative.
The court ruled to keep jurisdiction of the children but stated that it would release them at the 2nd six month review. The parents tried to argue that the homeschooling issue was moot at this point, but the court ruled that it was not. This began the investigation as to the legality of “homeschooling” in California.
It’s clear that there is something amiss in this family and that they all need some sort of help. Otherwise, they would not have had a relationship with CPS over the last 20 years. However, sending them to a government or private school isn’t going to keep anyone from abusing the children nor is it going to make the parents better parents. It’s unfortunate for homeschoolers nationwide that this family claimed to homeschool which led to the court’s ruling that teaching must be done by a certified teacher.
Here’s my post regarding the ruling on homeschooling.