Social workers now assessing home education?

Sunday, November 30, 2014
 | 
Michael F. Haverluck (OneNewsNow.com)

The latest case of alleged government intrusion into the home comes out of Savannah, Georgia, where homeschooling parents were reported to a state agency by a social worker for the “educational neglect” of their 12-year-old daughter — who they have successfully and legally taught at their home for some time.

A Closer LookWithout cause or warning, one social worker in northeastern Georgia contacted the Chatham County Department of Family and Children Services, alerting the agency that she suspected a family of neglecting the educational needs of their preteen daughter.

Not understanding the basis of the allegations or extent of her rights as a registered homeschool parent, the mother finally agreed to meet with the intrusive social worker outside of her home in order to get a better idea of exactly what she was being accused of regarding her daughter’s education.

After a brief discussion, the homeschool mom communicated to the social worker that she would give in and allow her inside of her home so that she could observe her daughter, but the mother would not agree to let the worker conduct a private interview with her 12-year-old.

Once the Homeschool Legal Defense Association was informed about the nature and conditions of the social worker’s visit, attorneys found the situation to be highly disturbing and unusual. As a member of HSLDA, the mother was quickly told that the intrusive investigation was extremely odd and problematic for two reasons: 1) the social worker, whose duties do not transcend into the realm of education, demanded to enter the homeschool family’s home and 2) the social worker aggressively pressed the family to allow her to observe the mother homeschool her daughter.

The rationale the social worker gave the homeschool mother for such an intrusive investigation was that she merely desired to ensure that her daughter was “getting the best education.” No concerns or allegations of misconduct or lack of learning were given to warrant any government invasion into her home.

As a matter of fact …

Once HSLDA Senior Counsel Dewitt Black gave the Savannah mom legal consultation as to how she should deal with the social worker moving forward, he proceeded to issue the government agent a letter clearly stating the homeschool parents’ constitutional rights to educate their own. He began by notifying the overreaching state employee that both parents were implementing a home study program for their daughter that was in direct compliance with Georgia state law.

Backing up his assertion, Black continued to lay out the facts pointing to legal documentation proving that the mother had already filed a mandatory declaration of intent for homeschooling, which she had submitted to the Georgia Department of Education at the commencement of this year’s fall semester. Also included in Black’s letter was a statement verifying that both parents were in full compliance with various other sections of the law by instructing their child above and beyond the minimum 4.5 hours per day, 180 days per year for the fall and spring semesters.

Black further notified the social worker that choosing to continue her invasive investigation would be a violation of the homeschool parents’ constitutional rights.

“The Fourth Amendment to the United States Constitution protect[s] the family from any unreasonable searches or seizures, such as entry into their home would involve,” Black stated to the social worker in his letter.

On second thought …

In just a matter of days after Black had send his letter to the social worker on behalf of the homeschool parents, the mother received a phone call from the state employee, who took an extreme change of course.

The social worker made it clear to the Savannah homeschool mom that a visitation to her home to investigate whether her daughter was receiving satisfactory home education was no longer necessary. Furthermore, the social worker also changed her tone — and apparently her perspective on homeschooling, as well.

“I think you’re doing a good job,” the social worker expressed to the homeschool mom in her phone conversation.

Before the conclusion of the phone call, the social worker let the home educator know that she was officially drawing the investigation to a close.

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