Recently a court case in California has once again thrown the spotlight on the State’s attempt to dictate to parents what they can and can’t do regarding how the parents decide to school their children.
We should note that it sounds like this case might involve a troubled family. At least that is the way the legal argument frames the discussion. Still, we must keep in mind that any decision in this case can easily be appealed to as legal precedent against families which are not troubled and who likewise home school their children.
Apparently a lower court ruled that the ‘L’ family could not be required to send their children to government schools. That decision was appealed to a higher court that apparently overturned the lower courts decision in favor of the family.
In the appellate decision the Judges noted that the lower court ruling had sustained the interest of the parents to home school even though the lower court noted that were the children to be required to attend government schools,
(1) they could interact with people outside the family
(2) there are people who could provide help if something is amiss in the children’s lives
(3) they could develop emotionally in a broader world than the parents’ “cloistered” setting.
This reflects typical Statist bureaucratic reasoning. Speaking to the first point, we would say it fails to note that interaction with people outside the family in a government school setting, would likely include, interacting with gang-bangers, druggies, brain dead teachers, and youth culture in general. One reason many parents home school is so they can control the interaction of their children with people outside the family. Speaking to the second point above, we would say it misses the fact that outside of family supervision children are just as likely to meet people who provide input that will cause something to be amiss in the children’s lives. Speaking to the third point above, we would first note the pejorative attitude towards the family (it provides a ‘cloistered setting’) articulated. On this point we would ask why it is assumed that emotional development (whatever that is) happens more successfully when it happens in the broader world.
The Judges in this case go on eventually to say,
We agree with the Shinn court’s statement that “the educational program of the State of California was designed to
promote the general welfare of all the people and was not designed to accommodate the personal ideas of any individual in the field of education.”
We need to keep in mind that the Judges here are building a case that the State of California, despite popular legal opinion, does not require that home schooling be allowed. The citing of the ‘Shinn case’ reveals the Statist inclination of the Judges. The reasoning being used here is that the promotion of the general welfare of all the people (can you say Rousseau?) through the educational process has priority over personal and individual freedom. The State and its will has priority over the will of the individual, even in cases touching parental decision making for their own children.
Having articulated the State’s right, the Judges introduce the State’s stick if the State’s will is not submitted to,
Because parents have a legal duty to see to their children’s schooling within the provisions of these laws, parents who fail to do so may be subject to a criminal complaint against them, found guilty of an infraction, and subject to imposition of fines or an order to complete a parent education and counseling program. (§§ 48291 & 48293.) Additionally, the parents are subject to being ordered to enroll their children in an appropriate school or education program and provide proof of enrollment to the court, and willful failure to comply with such an order may be punished by a fine for civil contempt. (§ 48293.)
Here we have in stark relief the reality that government is organized brute force. The court is saying here that if parents will not give them their children then parents will be subject to monetary fines and brainwashing classes that no doubt will teach political correctness in the realm of child rearing. The reader should be very clear here that the implication of this is that the State owns the children born in the State and parents who get out of line will be dealt with summarily.
The paragraph below emphasizes again the absolute sovereignty of the State over parents.
Jurisdiction over such parental infractions may be assigned to juvenile court judges. (§ 48295; Welf. & Inst. Code, § 601.4.) Further, under section 361,subdivision (a) of the Welfare and Institutions Code, the juvenile court has authority to limit a parent’s control over a dependent child, including a parent’s right to make educational decisions for a child, so long as the limitations do not exceed what is necessary to protect the child.
We should note in (a) above that it is the State which gets to decide what constitutes ‘limitations that do not exceed what is necessary to protect the child.’ As such all talk about court restrained ‘limitations’ is utter tripe, since it is the court itself that is deciding what constitutes appropriate limitations and what doesn’t constitute appropriate limitations.
The superior court also deals with first amendment claims the Judges
dismiss such claims by not so subtly suggesting that the parents are just using religious belief as an excuse to home school their own children,
The parents in the instant case have asserted in a declaration that it is because of their “sincerely held religious beliefs” that they home school their children and those religious beliefs “are based on Biblical teachings and principles.” Even if the parents’ declaration had been signed under penalty of perjury, which it was not, those assertions are not the quality of evidence that permits us to say that application of California’s compulsory public school education law to them violates their First Amendment rights. Their statements are conclusional, not factually specific. Moreover, such sparse representations are too easily asserted by any parent who wishes to home school his or her child.
The omniscient Judges here are saying that they know the minds of the parents and that the parents are not really serious in their religious convictions. This is *$^&_&% incredible. Parents only have first amendment rights when the State determines, by reading the minds of citizens, when they are genuinely invoking First Amendment rights.
If I lived in California I would be nervous.