Are Public Schools Safe for Children?

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 by Israel Wayne

In the past, MiCHN has responded to media bias against homeschoolers. Particularly, in an article in the Detroit Free Press (DFP).

In short, the article by the DPF suggested that because a public school family had seriously abused their children, (CPS had known about the ongoing abuse for eight years), and then attempted to withdraw their children from public school, ALL homeschoolers in the state of Michigan needed to be regulated!

It’s obviously a massive logical leap, but one they were willing to take. There is a certain narrative that some in the media wish to present: Public schools are safe and homeschools (parents) are dangerous. We, at MiCHN, and most of the homeschoolers we know and represent, obviously do not share this bias.

Are Homeschools Dangerous?

Responding to the accusation that homeschools are a cover up for child abuse and neglect, I cite research that demonstrates that there is absolutely no connection between the degree of state regulation of homeschooling and abuse of children, AND the fact that students who are homeschooled are actually 257% LESS likely to be sexually abused than students who are in public schools! We sent this information to the DFP but received no response.

While we do not deny that there have been families who claim to homeschool their children who have abused and neglected them, there is no research (including an extensive study from our own federal government) that links homeschooling as a risk factor for child abuse.

Are Public Schools Dangerous?

The story goes, however, if children were in public schools, where they could be closely monitored by teachers, school counselors, school staff, etc., they would be kept safe from all harm and abuse. It sounds almost as though it’s only when they are homeschooled that abuse can take place, or go undetected. Our previous article, mentioned above, gives ample evidence that just because a child attends a public school, and CPS is aware of his or her abuse at home, that he or she is therefore safe from ongoing abuse from his or her parents. Sending a child to public school does not, in many cases, solve any of the abuse going on at home.

But even worse than that, there is significant reason to believe that a child who attends public school faces dramatically increased risk of abuse at school, that he or she does NOT face otherwise.

Child Protective Services (CPS) and Public Schools Cover Up Abuse

Despite the accusation against homeschoolers that they are keeping their children at home as a cover-up for abuse and neglect, there is a demonstrated example of public schools and CPS doing just that in the Chicago Public School scandal (from a study that exposed them in August of 2018)!

According to MSN.com: “The report describes how understaffed and underfunded CPS investigators struggled to process reports of potential sexual harassment, notifications sent to the Department of Children and Family Services, employee misconduct allegations and altercations between students and staff – thousands of reports during the 2016-17 school year alone.”

Notice how they claim that if they just had more money, they could start doing their jobs? There were thousands of reports of sexual harassment (including many sexual assaults against children by school staff), in just one school year, in one city! This certainly does not fit the story the media wants us to believe: That public schools are safe havens against all child abuse and homeschools are vile dens of all kinds of abuse and neglect. It’s interesting to me that right after the Chicago story broke, newspapers around the country (including the DFP), immediately started shining the spotlight on homeschoolers, as if they are the real concern. Thankfully, the best DFP could come up with this round was a family who wasn’t even homeschooling (they were in the Lansing area public schools!).

To be clear, MiCHN is totally against all forms of child abuse. We believe that those who abuse children should be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law utilizing the perfectly adequate child-abuse laws that already exist in Michigan.

What we do not believe is that public schools in Michigan are free from even the worst forms of abuse (by teachers and school staff). Let us demonstrate why.

Abuse and Neglect of Children by Michigan Public School Staff

In July of 2018, NBC News showed video footage of a Detroit public school assistant principal, slamming a 14-yr-old boy to the ground. He was then allegedly punched in the face by a school resource officer, who allegedly broke his jaw.

In July of 2018, the Detroit Free Press themselves reported on a Hazel Park lawsuit regarding an 8-yr-old girl who almost lost her finger when a school aide allegedly, “slammed the door closed on Serenity’s finger with such force that her finger was nearly severed.”

As similar lawsuit regarding a 7-yr-old boy reported in July, 2018 in Detroit in which, according to a report in The Detroit News: “The teacher kicked Jason out of the classroom and made him sit on the floor,” Marko said Tuesday. “He was trying to get back into the room and she lost her temper and slammed the door and basically guillotined his finger.”

Again, the Detroit Free Press reported in March 2018: “A 33-year-old Marshall Public Schools teacher was arrested Tuesday on charges he had sex with a 16-year-old female student…The mother found the daughter with the guy in Marshall…She got her daughter and went home and the daughter told her she has been having sex with the teacher.”

In February 2018, WWMT.com reported a 29-yr-old Athens High School teacher who was reportedly having sex with his 16-yr-old student.

The DFP in August 2018 reported: “A Troy middle school assistant principal was charged with second-degree home invasion Saturday after she allegedly broke into the home of a student to look for prescription pills…(A) video reportedly showed Buchanan, 47, looking through a purse and drawers and walking through the home. The homeowner said $40 was taken.”

In August 2018, an investigation was launched regarding Van Buren Township elementary reading teacher who operates and performs for an X-rated internet porn site with her husband called, “Hot for Teachers.”

These are the people who many parents are expecting to keep their children safe!

I could go on and on and on with these kinds of stories (just in Michigan!). Years ago, the conservative news site, WorldNetDaily.com started a page of just female teacher / predators who had been arrested for having sex with their students. They complied a massive list, and then had to give up in 2014 because there were so many similar reports each week from across the country, they couldn’t keep up with it.

There is a Facebook group called, “The Real Truth About Public Schools” that posts, sometimes dozens of stories EVERY SINGLE DAY of crimes and abuses against children in American public schools. And we haven’t even addressed bullying and cyber-bullying from other students, or school shootings!

Students Assaulting Other Students

A lawsuit was reported by MLive.com in March 2018 of the sexual abuse, in a teacher-monitored classroom, of a Grandville kindergarten student, by his classmates! “Parents of a boy say he was sexually assaulted in kindergarten by classmates who photographed the abuse on school-issued iPads. Grandville Public Schools, administrators and a teacher are named in a federal lawsuit alleging the district allowed the abuse to occur and failed to conduct a proper investigation after the allegations came to light.”

October 2018, Fox17 reported that a 5-yr-old Muskegon Heights boy was reportedly sexually assaulted by his classmate. His mother had this to say, “I leave my son in you guys’ hands to protect him, and I feel like they neglected to protect him.”

Also in October 2018, a horrible situation was reported by FOX2 where a 5-yr-old boy was forced to perform oral sex acts on an older elementary student on the school bus. Reportedly, the bus driver did not intervene, and other students just watched. “Parents say what’s even more upsetting is that the school district has not said anything about the incident,” FOX2 reported.

This is happening in Kindergarten!

Are Students Safer in Public Schools than at Home with Their Parents?

While there are those who wish to scrounge around looking for any negligent or abusive parent, who claims to homeschool, as an excuse for regulating all homeschoolers, there is simply no evidence that putting perfectly safe children into a public-school environment makes them safe. I would argue the opposite is true.

In the statistically rare occasion that a homeschooled student is being abused, at home, by his or her parents, those parents need to be prosecuted by existing-child abuse laws in the state (just like any other family where abuse takes place). Some may argue that homeschoolers have no one interacting with them to report abuse if it is occuring. The same could be said of public school students during summer break. Should all public school families have mandatory home visits to ensure none of them are abusing their children during the three months their students aren’t in school? The fact is, real homeschoolers interact with their families, their neighbors, their churches, and their communities, just like everyone else. They are also usually involved in some kind of homeschool support group or co-op (like those you can find HERE on our website), with other families, sharing academic classes, team sports, band / music, drama, debate, field trips, etc. It is ultimately people who care who are going to report child abuse, and you can’t create people who care through regulation.

Making loving, caring homeschooling parents submit to additional requirements and government red tape like: Standardized testing, annual reporting, home visits, social worker visits, etc., only needlessly burdens them, costs taxpayers huge amounts of money to implement, and burdens a system that MSN.com says is already hyper-extended…just trying to keep up with all of the sexual abuse going on in the public school system alone.

Our recommendation to legislators and reporters is to focus on what will actually solve the problem: Enforce the perfectly adequate laws we already have, rather than constantly trying to create new ones.

MiCHN is committed to continuing our long legacy of defending homeschooling freedoms in Michigan. We appreciate your support as we stand up for parental rights to keep homeschooling free from unnecessary and useless additional regulation in our state.

Please consider becoming a member of MiCHN

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