Wednesday, December 28, 2005

Losing the Right to Homeschool

Daryl had a link to an article about a family losing the right to homeschool.

The parents of a baby who died after being fed a raw food diet have been given suspended sentences and probation, for child neglect convictions involving their remaining children.

Prosecutors in Miami said the other four children are underweight because their parents believe in a diet of only raw, uncooked foods. The jury did acquit the parents of manslaughter in the death of the 6-month-old girl, who weighed only seven pounds when she died in 2003. The other children have been living with a relative since the infant's death.

If another judge approves reunification of the family, the parents will have to agree to make regular visits to a pediatrician and a nutritionist. They'd also have to take a parenting course. And they couldn't home-school their kids.

This is a tragic story of seemingly obvious neglect. From this article it is unclear whether this family homeschooled or how homeschooling was even related. But the ruling presents a dilemma for our society. Should a judge be allowed to terminate a parents right to homeschool? And if so under what conditions should they be ended? We have granted the state the ability to terminate the parental rights completely. But should a court selectively determine what a parent can and can't do if they have retained the right to parent? The assumption from the judge appears to be that the schools are better equipped to catch this type of neglect. So the court has determined that in this case, the schools will protect the best interest of the child.

Tad, had at a comment at Daryl's which said in part.
Where do we draw the line between the rights of the family and the duty of the state to step in? In this case, the family made a decision, regarding diet, that not only risked the lives of their children, but resulted in the death of one of them. Should we therefore enact laws that prescribe the diet we all feed our children?
I'm genuinely curious how others view this. Any thoughts?

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