Wednesday, September 16, 2009

No Right To Homeschool
This story has me really torn in a way. Ep and BRM are right, that this was born out of a custodial duty dispute (I think fathers too often get a very short end of the court system there, hence the "torn" part), but that is not the reasoning for the decision rendered by the judge. This isn’t a mediation case. The judge alluded that harm was being done in the home due to the child being unlikely to "seriously consider adopting any other religious point of view.". A couple of paper quotes:

The court found Amanda to be "generally likable and well liked, social and interactive with her peers, academically promising, and intellectually at or superior to grade level." Nonetheless, reasoned the court, "it would be remarkable if a ten-year-old child who spends her school time with her mother and the vast majority of her other time with her mother would seriously consider adopting any other religious point of view."

The judge ignored New Hampshire state law, which requires evidence of harm to a child before removing her from the home-school situation, and interposed an arbitrary basis for removal — that the child "appeared to reflect the mother's rigidity on questions of faith," and "would be best served by exposure to different points of view at a time in her life when she must begin to critically evaluate multiple systems of belief and behavior."

This isn't a decision based in "the father has rights, too" (which, btw is what gives me such great pause when initially reading about this). That would be understood. This is a decision based on a tenet of the judge feeling that the 10-year old needed to be forcibly exposed to other points of view.

Also, as an aside, I understand it to be the court (not chosen by the mother) who appointed the overseer in the home after the father failed in '06 to force the girl into public school.

BTW, a funny line from WSJ: In a state whose motto is "Live Free or Die," this is an extraordinary line of reasoning.

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