By now the shocking details of the Turpin case are all over the news. Everyone has an opinion, there are all sorts of speculations and suddenly even former neighbors and relatives are speaking out about their suspicions. Like everyone else around the world, when I heard of this I was horrified. There is no question about it, the conditions in which the children were forced to live in and the alleged punishments they endured are heart breaking. And other sign of where human depravity is unquestionably headed.
One of the questions and concerns that has been raised by this case, is homeschooling laws and regulations across the United States. However it’s imperative to keep in mind that this is not a homeschool issue, this is a human rights issue.
This morning, I came across an opinion article in the LA Times, which was clearly written by someone who understands nothing about homeschooling, and moreover has a very biased opinion against it. What’s worse, is that most individuals, will choose not to see the real side of homeschooling, and will cling to their uninformed opinions.
One of the calls to action in that particular article, as it is in a similar article published by CNN just two days earlier, is the call for more intense regulation in private homeschools. Which include annual assessments with certified teachers, and required annual doctor’s visits.
At first glance, these seem harmless. We have nothing to hide after all.
We follow state mandated rules of registering our private homeschools, and withdrawing our children from public school by filing the required documents.
However, when we take a closer look, this type of regulation would separate homeschool parents from public school parents, and would put them in a category of potential child abusers.
This type of regulation would separate homeschool parents from public school parents and put them in a category of potential child abusers. #whathomeschoolingisnot #notabouthomeschooling #turpin Click To Tweet
Now, I don’t mean to turn this into a public school vs homeschool debate, however if we want to address the issue of child welfare and endangerment, we should look at the whole picture. Let’s not assume that reporting annually to a certified teacher or physician will resolve this issue. We see countless of acts of child neglect, endangerment, and abuse outside of private homeschools.
There’s an increasing amount of bullying.
According to StopBullying.org as many as 49% of students in grades 4-12 reported bullying by other students at school in the past month. According to another study most bullying takes place on school grounds, and school buses. Some of these incidents actually take place in the classrooms, hallways, lockers, cafeterias and gyms. Places where trained and certified professionals are constantly present, yet only 20 to 30% of these incidents are reported. Why are we as parents not addressing this issue with our children, who are often responsible for the bullying in the first place?
Then there’s sexual abuse…
The number of reported cases of teachers and school officials’ abuse of minors has grown exponentially over the years. For example, there’s the case of John Manly, an elementary school teacher serving a sentence for committing lewd acts with 81 children. Or the case of Mark Berndt currently serving 25 years in prison, for 23 acts of lewd contact, accused of feeding his semen to blindfolded students. Or Joseph Baldenebro charged with multiple acts of child molestation. Yet all these horrific crimes were committed in just one school district, one elementary school and went at first un-noticed, then un-reported to law enforcement officials for months and in some cases for years.
Furthermore, child abuse in the school system does not end there. There’s also countless reports of disabled children submitted to corporal punishment by the hands of their educators. Trusted, certified professionals.
Read page 26 of this report published by the ACLU, where it says that “at least 41,972 students with disabilities were subjected to corporal punishment in the 2006-2007 school year”.
How are we as a society allowing atrocities like these to go un-noticed. #whathomeschoolingisnot #notabouthomeschooling #turpin Click To Tweet
Yet, we haven’t even begun to discuss the amount of abuse cases in which parents, relatives or family friends of children under the constant watch of public educators are guilty of.
This is not a homeschool issue. This is a human rights issue.
The Turpin children seem cooperative, polite and recovering per the medical personnel. Both David & Louise Turpin, are facing a 94 years to life sentence, for multiple charges of child and dependent adult abuse. Husband and wife understand the charges brought against them and plead not guilty.
The investigation and recovery are far from over, and the psychological damage the children endured will last a lifetime. We must then ask ourselves how can we as a community, a people, a nation come together to stop pointing fingers and shifting blame for atrocities such as this one?
To start, we must understand that cases like the Turpin’s are not isolated. Next, we must stand, and be ready to speak up for anyone who is suffering from any type of abuse. Not just children, but the elderly, the disabled, the human.
To start, we must understand that cases like the Turpin's are not isolated. Next, we must stand, and be ready to speak up for anyone who is suffering from any type of abuse. Not just children, but the elderly, the disabled, the… Click To Tweet
Remember how only 20 to 30% of bullying incidents are reported? Why are we allowing the other 70 to 80% go unnoticed.
The bible calls us to speak.
Open your mouth for the speechless,
In the cause of all who are appointed to die.
Open your mouth, judge righteously,
And plead the cause of the poor and needy.
Instead of focusing so much on what did and didn’t happen in the Turpin case, focus on what you, me, all of us will do next time we are given the opportunity to stand and defend the powerless. Focus on how we can come together as a community to provide support for the Turpin children, and so many children in situations just like them.
Let’s stop focusing on ideologies, lifestyles, and educational choices; and focus on human rights instead.