Monday, October 11, 2010

Responsibility and a Home School Forum

As a home educator it is nice to participate, be it electronically, with others who do the same.  We share educational resources. Free things found in our travels and tips on all kinds of topics from the family dog to the mother-in law that thinks home school is crazy.  It can keep you from feeling alone and can broaden your educational resources. A great idea. The one I belonged to was the PEAK Network . It was an inclusive group, no faith-based or schooling style affiliation.

The topics were generally light even when controversy was in the air. Not quite a forum as a bulletin board. Not many opinions were ever expressed. This may be what some like but to exchange ideas some opinions must be expressed. I don't have to agree and I can remain civil .  It was to be a place where we shared the good, the bad, the ugly and the beautiful.

The other day a member began a thread on DHS . First an inquiry then her story. A nightmare was unfolding before our eyes. I suggested she might be more comfortable in Private Messaging and expressed my concern and offered any help I could give. In the span of about three days, almost 100 views of this thread only had eighteen replies. I offered links to lawyers and other sites that fight CPS/DHS .  Me and a few others told heer about the history of the agency's lies and deceit. Then the thread was LOCKED. The  founder of the network expressed that this conversation was BEYOND the forum and should be dealt with by lawyers.

I was amazed! Here was someone asking for a sympathetic ear, help,or an outlet. The forum turned away. DHS/CPS  actions toward home schoolers nationwide are well-known.  The Home School Defense League is always defending cases from this agency. I wrote to Lioness, her user name, and told her I disagreed with the action. Then I started a new thread and stated my disagreement. This  was  deleted within minutes.

Now, I understand forum rules but while this is not a nice topic it is a reality in home schooling. It is not political because there is no side or lobbying effort. It just was not comfortable . The PEACE of  our little world was shaken with the reality of what CAN and DOES happen. My first attempt at rebuttal deleted I set about another. This time I sent personal messages to those on-line at the time. Again ,the admins cut off my privileges and in short order I could not read or post.

Well,  when do we stand up for our right of free speech? The little fight is as important as the big. We must use our rights in every aspect of life. Our responsibilities to our fellow humans are never diminished because of the space we are in at any given moment. The following is my rebuttal to the removal of the initial thread( the name of the founder was added after my first attempt was deleted);
By the removal of the DHS thread posted under 'Chat', Natalie, our Peak founder, has become complicit with DHS and those who wish to isolate and persecute homeschoolers.

This is not a personal issue....this is a national issue. So much so, that the Home School Defense League provides a training manual for members on dealing with DHS threats.

It is well known within homeschooling communities that DHS is used often to isolate homeschoolers from their communities under the pretext of vague accusations.

This was a plea from a fellow homeschooler. It is our responsibility to help those in need, to speak out against ugly truths, and share beauty.

The Peak founder failed us all with this gross injustice, and further discredited herself by removing all threads that chastised her for this act. It is no longer a forum but her ivory tower blog, where nothing is wrong.

Pastor Martin Niemöller (1892–1984) about the inactivity of German intellectuals following the Nazi rise to power and the purging of their chosen targets, group after group. The text of the quotation is usually presented roughly as follows:

They came first for the Communists,

and I didn't speak up because I wasn't a Communist.

Then they came for the trade unionists,

and I didn't speak up because I wasn't a trade unionist.

Then they came for the Jews,

and I didn't speak up because I wasn't a Jew.

Then they came for me

and by that time no one was left to speak up.

I AM SPEAKING UP!!! Join my eviction from Peak, and speak up also.

Peace
"To accept passively an unjust system is to cooperate with that system; thereby the oppressed become as evil as the oppressor. Noncooperation with evil is as much a moral obligation as is cooperation with good. The oppressed must never allow the conscience of the oppressor to slumber..." - M L K Jr



I will take the words of Martin Luther King and Pastor Niemoller to heart. What will you do?

11 comments:

  1. I wish homeschoolers could unite to support one another.

    Good luck!

    ReplyDelete
  2. Thanks, I hope that's what I am doing.

    ReplyDelete
  3. A Homeschool Groups first responsibility is to the Group. Topics that become divisive can destroy a group. This was such a topic and Natalie acted responsibly when she locked the topic. This in no way prevents members from visiting Lioness' blog to offer support and sympathy, or sharing Lioness' story on their own blog.

    Secondly as horrific as what Lioness' family is going through, it isn't really a homeschooling issue. Lioness herself said that she was reported for neglect. That is what DHS is investigating. Lioness would be facing the same nightmare even if her children attended public school.

    Thirdly this is a legal issue and is beyond the scope of PEAK's capabilities to help. Having our members sitting around wringing their hands helps no one. Natalie and others pointed Lioness to resources that could help her. It is up to Lioness to make use of them.

    Should Mississippi homeschoolers be worried? I think not. This issue is very complex and has little to do with homeschooling.

    ReplyDelete
  4. First, thank you for the comments. As you can see I did NOT delete them.
    It became a home school issue because; 1) They questioned her ability to teach. 2) Suggested that the children may not be learning. 3) They wanted to test one of the children. All in violation of MS State law and of paramount interest to homeschoolers nationwide.
    Whether the issue began or ended with neglect, the home school issue was used on more than one occasion. I gave a link to the HSDLA page that shows just how many of these cases BEGIN with a neglect issue. One case that comes to mind is of a farm family that was investigated for dirty living conditions, they were sheep farmers. When the lambs would be born, some were taken into the home for nurturing. Animals living in the home, a dirty living condition and the kids at home, HSDLA went to their defense. DHS was so aggressive the family exercised their right to move from the state.
    DHS in Mississippi, or any other state, is a problem to families and homeschoolers. They, homeschoolers, have a special spot in the DHS agenda. From the HSDLA web page;

    Title: How to Protect Your Family Against a Truant Officer or Social Worker Visit
    Speaker: J. Michael Smith
    Length: 45–60 minutes
    Type:
    Workshop
    Topic:
    Child Protective Services, Dealing with Social Workers, Legal
    Audience:
    New Homeschoolers, Parents, Support Group Leaders, Veteran Homeschoolers
    Description:
    As the government’s ever-growing role expands to encompass family life and decision-making, the information presented in this seminar is critical for every attendee. Michael Smith calls upon over two decades of defending homeschooling families against social services and child protective service contacts to inform the audience of the newest threat to their freedom. This session primarily addresses your state’s laws relating to social services contacts and provides general application for other states as well. Audiences find this session “very, very informative,” “clearly presented, enjoyable to listen to,” and “a necessity."

    http://www.hslda.org/speakers/speaker.asp?s=22 There is much more on this one site, search DHS or CPS. To re-quote it is a "necessity" for home educators to be aware of these issues.
    I expected more reality in a group forum. Politics were posted both for the Midwife law and the Educational amendments in the MS legislature this past spring. A much less offensive politics but politics just the same. As you noted, I posted in MY Blog, a clear place for opinion (usually mine) and yet you discourage me here as well. No delete button.
    It is my opinion that Ms. Shinn wanted support in the fact that she was NOT ALONE in her ordeal. I contacted a number of legal/civil groups with her nightmare. I realize , as I am sure Ms. Shinn did, that PEAK is not a forum for legal advice...however, it's members collectively have years of experience and multiple resources not afforded to any single member. As such, a responsible forum affords all members latitude to express their problems and concerns in their own way.
    Lastly, I would thank you for not defining all homeschoolers as a "random group of mommas and daddies who just want to know when the next park day takes place." Some of us fight for homeschool rights.


    “To accept passively an unjust system is to cooperate with that system; thereby the oppressed become as evil as the oppressor. Noncooperation with evil is as much a moral obligation as is cooperation with good. The oppressed must never allow the conscience of the oppressor to slumber…” – M L K Jr.

    ReplyDelete
  5. DHS is LEGALLY obligated to investigate claims.

    Lioness has stated on her blog that she believes the neighbors reported her because they think she saw something they didn't want her to see and they are trying to discredit her.

    It is interesting you keep bring HSDLA UP, you do realize that they WILL NOT help Lioness?

    ReplyDelete
  6. Gee, HSLDA won't help when the state is requiring someone report their homeschooling activity even though such reporting is against state law? That's a new one on me.

    I got the "report" from the DHS. It's all over the place, but among other things they are requiring me to report my homeschool activity and have my children tested -- at my expense.

    ReplyDelete
  7. A powerful elite subset of the homeschooling movement has shifted focus to courting political power. In Texas, the HSLDA endorsed a politician who tried to force every girl in the state to get a HPV vaccine by "executive order" without legislative approval after receiving campaign money from Big Pharma. This upset the average Texas homeschooler, and so a homeschooler ran against our notorious incumbent governor and won all the support of the state Tea Party and Texas homeschoolers.

    Nevertheless, at HSLDA functions, the homeschool candidate was not allowed to be mentioned or even allow campaign buttons to be seen, but campaign material for the vaccine threatening governor was openly condoned and distributed.

    ReplyDelete
  8. I don´t agree with all the politics of the group. But having lived in the fair state of Texas and watched families torn up by DHS , I chose the best solution , join HSDLA and have a lawyer on retainer. I could never afford one otherwise. We sometimes have to take the good with the bad. I pay my taxes but vehemently disagree with the wars, among other things.
    I don´t like or agree that vaccinations are safe or necessary. Nor should they be mandatory.

    ReplyDelete
  9. I agree and am an HSLDA member for the same reason though as an anarchist oppose their political worship of their cloth idol using the oath of the Bellamy cousins who co-founded national socialism.

    If I say that some homeschoolers are only "summer soldiers and sunshine patriots" (i.e. "next park day" as commented above) they either don't know what I'm talking about, or say that they are homeschooling so they don't have to let their kids read works by atheists like Tom Paine.

    ReplyDelete
  10. HSLDA has a standing record of:
    Refusing to represent any member that does not fit their narrow idea of what a homeschool family looks like. There are many cases of them refusing to represent long time members who were :single parents, same sex parents, those who are not active members of a protestant church etc.

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  11. Could you put in a link? It is interesting information. I could not find it through a search. Thanks!

    ReplyDelete

Impressions from friends, thanks.

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