When Kiarre Harris decided to take her kids out of the public school system in Buffalo, New York, and homeschool them instead, she had no idea the decision would result in her losing her children.
Harris followed the regulations for withdrawing her children from public school in December, but a week later, she got a phone call from Child Protective Services (CPS) inquiring why her children were not at school. She explained that she was now homeschooling them and had the paperwork to prove that everything was in order. A month later, however, she came home to find police cars waiting for her. She was given a court summons for child neglect, and when she refused to hand her children over to police, they arrested her for obstruction of justice.
It turned out that a mistake by the distract led to the forcible removal of Harris’s two children from her care. Harris says that Buffalo City Hall failed to inform the former school that the children were being homeschooled. When they stopped showing up for classes, the school believed the single mother was illegally preventing them from attending and contacted CPS. The kids were placed in state custody, and she was given limited supervised visits.
Following a hearing at Erie County Family Court, Harris regained parental custody. Her joy was short-lived, however, when she was arrested again as she left the courthouse. Supporters had gathered outside of the hearing, and one of them had an outstanding warrant with the Family Court. In the course of arresting him, police used pepper spray. When Harris emerged from the courthouse and saw the scuffle, she placed her hand on one of the arresting officers’ back, leading to the new charge. Harris’s attorney, Matt Alberts, does not believe this charge will affect her custody. She was expected to be reunited with her kids after two supervised and two unsupervised visits.
Homeschooling on the rise
Harris cited her feeling that the school system was failing her kids as the reason behind her decision to homeschool, echoing the sentiment of countless other parents who are taking the same route after becoming disillusioned with the public school system. Many of these homeschooled kids are thriving, with studies showing homeschooled kids have a higher likelihood of excelling academically and earn higher scores on standardized tests.
American Millennials recently came in 15th place out of 22 industrialized nations in subjects like math, literacy and computer problem solving. It’s no surprise, therefore, that Education News reported a 75 percent increase in homeschooling in the years from 1999 to 2013. Experts predict this number will continue to rise as parents become more fed up with the system.
Besides academics, there are a lot of other benefits to homeschooling. Some of the biggest parts of an education that public schools overlook are character and family values, which is why homeschooled kids tend to be more respectful. Schools also focus very little on life skills like proper nutrition, whereas the home is the perfect environment to teach kids skills like growing their own food and the importance of a healthy, organic diet. Moreover, kids tend to complete their schoolwork faster in homeschool environments, freeing up more time in their schedules for community social activities, sports, exercise, and outdoor play.
It’s not surprising that the government feels threatened when people decide to exercise their right to eschew the brainwashing environment of public schools and teach their children at home, but it’s outrageous that they crafted a way to take away a single mother’s kids for doing so, and these children aren’t likely to forget what essentially amounted to kidnapping and a cruel separation from their mother any time soon. This case illustrates exactly why so many people want less government intervention in their lives.
Written by Isabelle Z
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