The Indiana legal climate for homeschooling is liberal, as reflected by thatÂ state’sÂ laws governing homeschooling.Â Â A member of the Advisory EditorialÂ BoardÂ forÂ an IndianaÂ newspaper, the Courier & Press,Â wants that situation to be discussed and uses worst-case examples as the reason.
Evansville Courier & Press, Evansville, Indiana, 6 September 2006,Â Home schooling should be board election topic
Home schooling is a growing phenomenon in the Midwest and South. Many education professionals believe that if the home educator is not well qualified or fails to include a child in group activities outside the home, it can produce young adults who have insufficient social skills and, in the extreme, borderline xenophobia. Lack of socialization and life experiences can stifle a child’s maturation and his ability to mentally process disappointments and life changes.
David Ludwig, 18, and Kara Roth, 15, were Pennsylvania teenagers who met at an outing for home-schooled teens in Lititz, Pa. In November 2005, Ludwig shot and killed Kara’s parents when they banned him from seeing their daughter. The two fled to Indiana, where they were captured.
At the time of the Pennsylvania tragedy involving Ludwig and Roth, I looked at the additional links on the websiteÂ containingÂ the report I blogged.
HEM News and Commentary, 10 December 2005, Homeschooling tragedies
On one of the websites where I read a contemporaneous report of Ludwigâ€™s crime, there were other stories about horrible events, yet those events have not been noticeably linked in subsequent articles to whichever population subgroup to which the parties belonged, but Iâ€™m not monitoring google alerts for them, either.
On the day I saved the siteâ€™s page, stories at the site were titled, “Student allegedly sexually attacks another student,” “Murder trial begins for mother of 3 girls killed in fire,” “Officers arrest couple after finding girl, 3, locked in garage.”Â The other headlines at that site are different today, but still there are horrible headlines, such as, “Son, 14, charged with fatherâ€™s murder.”
It is a feature of our news reporting culture that whatever is unusual — man bites dog –Â gets the most publicity.Â Â Murder because of young loveÂ would be a dog-bites-man story, meaning it’s terrible, but not unheard of.Â Murder because of young love between homeschooled kids, though,Â is of the man-bites-dog variety, perhaps because of the halo-effect some see around homeschooling.Â Yes, in today’s world going the whole nine yards to raise your kids is sometimes seen as a denial of the full privileges of adulthoodÂ concerning theÂ parent, and homeschooled kids are usually reported as being kind and thoughtful, but on the face of it, caring for your own flesh and blood, and having decent manners,Â should be seen as a normal things.
In either version of my unfortunately-not-entirely-fictional example of murder because of young love, a tragedy has occurred, but inÂ the commonÂ dog-bites-man kind of tragedy, the family murder storyÂ disappears into the black-hole-of-stories going back as far as ancient Egypt, Tutankhamen, Cain and Abel,Â Oedipus, Agamemnon, Iphigeneia and Clytemnestra, Medea, and (almost) Abraham and Isaac.Â And those were the biggies.Â Reports of garden-variety murders that don’t have actual or symbolic significanceÂ are usually not enshrined in famous stories, and no one (unrelated to the people involved, or far away from them) is surprised at murder, much less murderÂ concerning families.Â Â Family murderÂ is common enough to haveÂ its own page at the United States Bureau of Justice website.
Using murder to justify homeschool oversight can’t be sustained because murder, to the sorrow of us all, is too common.
U.S. Department of Justice press release, 10 July 1994, Wives are the most frequent victims in family murders
The study, based on murder cases disposed of in 1988 in the 75 largest U.S. counties, determined that family murder victims were related to their assailants as follows:
Husband or wife of murdererÂ . .Â Â 40.9%
OffspringÂ . . . . . . . . . . .Â Â 20.9
Parent . . . . . . . . . . . . .Â Â 11.7
SiblingÂ . . . . . . . . . . . .Â Â Â 9.4
Other type of family memberÂ . .Â Â 17.1
What do you think the breakdown would be, among those victims, as to method of schooling, either of perpetrator or victim?
Many homeschoolers have responded at the Courier & Press siteÂ about the other reasons the writer of the article gives forÂ wanting stricter homeschooling oversight in Indiana.