I always hesitate to write about child abuse in the news because I believe the situation is difficult enough for the child(ren) to begin with, but when the media connects these situations to home education, I feel compelled to speak out.
In an update in today’s Toledo Blade, I learned that in March 2004, police arrested the father for the horrid conditions they found the children in. Authorities then turned the boys over to their paternal grandmother.
The article tells us what happened next:
- The next day, she gave the boys to Ms. Botzko, said Dean Sparks, children services’ executive director.For the next two weeks, the agency made numerous attempts to find Ms. Botzko. Workers placed several calls to the family, the police, the motel, and her workplace. They also went to the motel, Mr. Sparks said.
As I reported yesterday, there were priors that alerted authorities about the conditions the boys were subjected to. Although the report does not say, my hope is that those in authority continued to follow up with family and friends long beyond those two weeks, but I don’t have the answer to that question.
Concerning the home education connection, Toledo Blade reporter Christina Hall writes:
- Ms. Botzko recently told Toledo police that her older son was home-schooled. Toledo Public Schools has no record of either boy enrolled in the district or their parents applying for home-schooling, interim Superintendent John Foley said. Parents or guardians who want to home-school their children are to apply for permission with the superintendent of the school district in which they live. The district then sends a letter verifying the home-schooling. The child must be tested at the end of the year, or a certified teacher must look at and sign off on the child’s work, district officials said.
This is incorrect. In Ohio, our rules and regulations state that we notify the local superintendent of our intent to home educate, we do not seek permission. The use and understanding of words in law are important and it is vital that we know the difference between “notify” and “seeking permission”.
The online The American HeritageÂ® Dictionary of the English Language defines the word permission this way:
- NOUN: 1. The act of permitting. 2. Consent, especially formal consent; authorization.
ETYMOLOGY:Middle English, from Old French, from Latin permissi, permissin-, from permissus, past participle of permittere, to permit. See permit.
SYNONYMS: permission, authorization, consent, leave2, license, sanction These nouns denote approval for a course of action that is granted by one in authority: was refused permission to smoke; seeking authorization to begin construction; gave their consent to the marriage; will ask leave to respond to the speaker; was given license to depart; gave sanction to the project.
The online Merrium Webster Dictionary defines the word notifiy this way:
- 1. To give notice to; inform: notified the citizens of the curfew by posting signs. 2. Chiefly British To give notice of; make known.
ETYMOLOGY: Middle English notifien, from Old French notifier, from Latin ntificre : ntus, known, past participle of nscere, to get to know; see gn- in Appendix I + -ficre, -fy.
OTHER FORMS: notiÂ·fier â€”NOUN
Our Ohio homeschool Rules and Regulations are found within 3301-34 Department of Education, Ohio Administrative Code, Chapter 3301-34. Excuses from Compulsory Attendance for Home Education, Promulgated pursuant to Ohio Revised Code, Chapter 119. They specify that we notify the local superintendent of our intent to home educate. We do not seek permission. We as parents are responsible to know this, to know the rules and regulations and to comply with the law that governs us. When the superintendent receives our notification, he is responsible to know the rules and regulations as well and to check to see if we are in compliance with the law. If we have met the criteria, he is responsible to excuse the child from compulsory attendance. (NOT because we meet his criteria, but because we have met the criteria set forth in the Ohio Rules and Regulations.)
According to today’s report, this family did not notify of their intent to home educate as required by Ohio Statute. Of course that isn’t surprising. If an individual is so ill that they would break not only the laws of the land, but natural laws by abusing their children, not even providing the basics such as food, why would they guarantee the child was getting an education?
My hope is that those involved will first and foremost assure that these children receive the help they deserve and never be subjected to such abuse EVER again. Secondly, I hope that those reporting on this story in the media will remember that child abuse occurs in our society because individuals are mentally insane or who are criminals.
As I wrote yesterday, perhaps we need to focus on a solution that will truly empower children that have been involved in prior reports and find a way for them to reach others easily when they need help.
Posted by Mary