Kentucky child protective services has forcibly taken 10 children from their parents, Joe and Nicole Naughler, based on an anonymous tip. Their “crime”? The parents are Mormons who live off the gridand to “un-school” their children, a type of homeschooling that emphasizes learning through life experiences, play, household management, travel, family and reading books– you know, the way children have been raised for much of history, before “public” schools were invented by statists in the latter half of the 1800s.
The Naughler family may be off-the-grid, but they’ve had a Facebook page called “Blessed Little Homestead” for several years. On the Facebook page, the Naughler’s have posted recent pictures, including a picture of an “emergency custody order affidavit” issued by child services, in which the affiant (whose name is whited out) “the family is residing on property with only one makeshift shed and two makeshift tents. Allegations are that there is no running water and no septic and the mother and father refuse to cooperate with the Cabinet and the police. Children are not living in appropriate conditions and are no [sic] enrolled in school. The parents refuse to cooperate with the investigation.” They also provide pictures of the sheds in which they live and the children, who all look healthy and happy.
It seems to me the “crime” this family has committed is living unconventionally– off-the-grid, and outside the public school system. While I wouldn’t want to live this way personally, people must have liberty to do so, if there is to be any liberty at all. Parents must have the right to raise their children as they see fit, short of evidence of child abuse, which in this instance, seems utterly lacking. The Supreme Court, in Pierce v. Society of Sisters (1925), invalidated an Oregon law that required all children to attend public school, concluding:
[It] unreasonably interferes with the liberty of parents and guardians to direct the upbringing and education of children under their control. The fundamental theory of liberty upon which all governments in this Union repose excluded any general power of the state to standardize its children by forcing them to accept instruction from public teachers only.The child is not the mere creature of the state; those who nurture him and direct his destiny have the right and the high duty, to recognize and prepare him for additional obligations.
A famous progressive brief in the Pierce case, penned by the State of Oregon, argued that the mandatory public school law was necessary to properly educate “the State’s children” and thus overrode any parents’ right to direct the upbringing of their own children. This notion– of children as belonging to the State, rather than the parents–is a persistent theme in progressivism/communism. Just ask MSNBC host Melissa Harris-Perry. Or Hillary Clinton, who famously proclaimed in 1996 that ”[W]e have learned that to raise a happy, healthy, and hopeful child, it takes a family, it takes teachers, it takes clergy, it takes business people, it takes community leaders it takes those who protect our health and safety, it takes all of us. Yes, it takes a village.” And in Komunistka, published in 1920, the communist vision of children was articulated:
Under capitalism children were frequently, too frequently, a heavy and unbearable burden on the proletarian family. Communist society will come to the aid of the parents. In Soviet Russia the Commissariats of Public Education and of Social Welfare are already doing much to assist the family. We already have homes for very small babies, creches, kindergartens, children’s colonies and homes, hospitals and health resorts for sick children. restaurants, free lunches at school and free distribution of text books, warm clothing and shoes to schoolchildren. All this goes to show that the responsibility for the child is passing from the family to the collective. . . .
The playgrounds, gardens, homes and other amenities where the child will spend the greater part of the day under the supervision of qualified educators will, on the other hand, offer an environment in which the child can grow up a conscious communist who recognizes the need for solidarity, comradeship, mutual help and loyalty to the collective. . . . There is no escaping the fact: the old type of family has had its day. The family is withering away not because it is being forcibly destroyed by the state, but because the family is ceasing to be a necessity.
Sound familiar? It should. The forcible removal of the Kentucky 10 children reminds me a lot of the Massachusetts girl, Jessica Pellietier, who was removed from her family and spent 16 months in State custody based on ridiculous, unfounded concerns of doctors at Boston Chidren’s Hospital, who second-guessed her existing Tufts University doctors’ diagnosis. Or how about the removal in January of 7 children from an Arkansas home, after an anonymous caller said the children were running barefoot in the snow. The parents were religious “preppers” who have homeschooled 9 children (two were grown and lived outside the home at the time the other 7 were taken by the State). The children are still in State custody.
It is getting far, far too easy for idiotic progressives to impose their views, and take children out of their homes based on their belief that they aren’t getting the “right” care, the “right” education, or the “right” modern amenities. There is a major difference between “unconventional” parenting and child abuse.
For all of you good, loving parents out there: embrace your children and teach them well. Happy Mother’s Day.
by Elizabeth Price Foley