“Truant From Homeschooling”

What does that mean to someone like Williamson County State‘s Attorney Charles Garnati, I wonder?  From the Southern about a case that has been in the news before.  In explaining his ‘concern’, the State’s Attny said this:

The Marion woman previously had been called before the state’s attorney to discuss the truancy of her son. She was told that she must start enforcing the minor’s attendance at school.

"She countered by saying she would home-school him," Garnati said.

"The ROE has the authority to check on those who do home-schooling. They checked on three different occasions, and it became apparent that she was not taking any steps to home-school her child."

There are definitely people (a very few) who would not be looking out for the welfare of their children, but would instead be looking for an easy way to get the authorities off their backs by the use of the "home school" word.   I wonder from afar if Kim Harris is really one of them.  I really don’t know. But her comments here hit home with too many experiences families have had in the public school.  With some single moms and people who don’t have the means to combat a system that considers them to be "have nots".  I’ve reposted her ‘side’ from John Homan’s interview of her here.  She says:

Harris explained she didn’t pull her son out of Marion High School for educational reasons, but for reasons of safety. She said her son was involved in a fight with other teens on one occasion and then stabbed in the lip with a sharp object a second time at a local Huck’s grocery by the same group of teens.
"I felt like his life was threatened, so I pulled him out of school because the same group of boys attend that school. And I’d do it again, too. No education is worth risking your life."

I’ve also found that there are 2 (sometimes 3) sides to every story and never any black and white.  But she seems to be on the right track of protecting her son.  Maybe she was in the unfortunate mindset that only schools provide "education" though and didn’t know where to go from there with protection AND providing educational resources?  Did the school authorities give her some textbooks from the schools on the 3 visits to check her out?  Sounds like they didn’t.  Do they mean that they aren’t "against home-schooling in any way" as long as the ‘right’ people are doing it?  3 visits and how much time?  Were they ‘biding their time’ for the catch because "she wasn’t smart enough"?   The school authorities and Mr. Garneti’s focus wasn’t really about her son’s education and welfare but maybe it was just to get him back into the school?  And I’m afraid to know what it does to a kid to have a truancy officer AND police show up at your door to question your mom?

Harris said she felt harassed by the truancy officer – that Sullivan was escorted by other policemen giving the appearance to neighbors that there was an ongoing crime at her home.

As I’ve said before; shades of Regional Office of Education Bully Boy Dennison and his truancy officer sidekick Horwedel a few years back.

Garnati said his recollection differs from Harris’s. He said there was indeed a meeting, but he never "OK’d" Harris to home-school her son. He said he was against the idea all the way, but Illinois law prohibited him from stopping her.

Following his logic, what expertise does an attorney have to OK or not OK her educational plans for her son?  I’m flexible as are many homeschoolers who successfully educate their children, but this fella has a law degree?  For criminy sakes, as opposed to an education degree, who does he think he is anyway?    Shocking!

Separate from this particular case, here’s what really bothers me as it’s in print and is the established mindset of these authorities:

In the Harris case, Sullivan said she made three trips to the residence to see if there was an established curriculum. In each case, however, she found that there wasn’t one.

We don’t need to use an established curriculum. 

And this:

Mickey Sullivan, truant officer with the regional superintendent of schools office in Herrin, said the number of truancy cases has dwindled in the county under Garnati’s watch. But she believes the number of children who are home-schooled who are not receiving proper instruction has increased.

Unschooling is an established and successful form of education.  From reading the authorities’ views on this "test case", I seriously doubt that their educrat mind is open to unschooling.  Back in March, Rhonda Robinson had addressed  ROE’s (Regional Offices of Education) busi-ness concerning homeschoolers and her concern for unschoolers on the IL Review:

Illinois Law is clear and simple.  We are considered private schools.  The local school district has NO jurisdiction within our homes. Unless of course, you grant them that authority.

Second, there seems to be a disturbing trend of appeasement.  The Joliet family was lucky enough to have had a teacher’s certificate.  They however, were at least ready to fight in court, had her plea’s not have been heard. 

How might this story have turned out if they were unschoolers with a mother who had no teaching credentials?

Last year, Kim Harris said this:

"In a way, I’m going to miss home-schooling my son," Harris said. "We drew closer to one another when we read books together. I think home-schooling’s great.

That’ why a lot of us homeschool.  Regardless of what the Real Truth is, I wish Kim Harris and her family well.  And I think there are some separate issues laid out by the Williamson County ROE, (among others) and State’s Attorney Garnati that should pull up the Stand Back antenna of Illinois homeschoolers.

Thanks, Mary for the tip off.


“Truant From Homeschooling” — 3 Comments

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