State task force: Home schools need monitoring, 29 June 2008, Rocky Mount Telegram, Rocky Mount, North Carolina
A state task force that examined the death of a 4-year-old boy who died in 2006 has called for more oversight for children taught at home.
The N.C. Department of Social Services made the recent recommendations in its report on the death of Sean Paddock, a Smithfield boy killed by his adoptive mother. Lynn Paddock, who was convicted of first-degree murder and felony child abuse in the case, home schooled her seven children.
The report calls for the N.C. Division of Non-Public Education to increase monitoring of home schools and for the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner to track school status of children who die under suspicious circumstances.
The minimum age of compulsory school attendance in North Carolina is seven.
Art. 16, Attendance, Pt. 1. Compulsory Attendance, North Carolina General Assembly
§ 115C-378. Children required to attend.
Every parent, guardian or other person in this State having charge or control of a child between the ages of seven and 16 years shall cause such child to attend school continuously for a period equal to the time which the public school to which the child is assigned shall be in session.
How does the murder of a four-year old child connect to homeschooling? I understand that the adoptive mother had registered a homeschool name, Benjamin Street School, but finding that because a parent murdered a child at home, therefore all homeschooling families should be monitored, is like saying that because employees at a mortgage company conspired to murder a co-worker, that all mortgage companies should be monitored. Or, as a reader pointed out, that all schools should be monitored if anything happens to a child in their care.
Laws are already in place against murder. In the case of families, how much farther are citizens willing to go to prevent tragedy? This is the same questionI asked at Talk2Action concerning overall regulation of homeschooling to prevent parents mis-teaching their children (scroll down for discussion, if interested).
How much oversight within families is enough oversight?
The logical outcome of control of some families is greater control of all families. There is not much difference in oversight of children between a homeschooling family and a family in which the children are all younger than the compulsory schooling age. Still, some people would like that to change as well.
Related discussions are at:
- Educational choice does not determine abuse, The Informed Parent
- This is not a homeschooling issue, Doc’s Sunrise Rants
- NC Update, HERP&ES
- Social Services recommends stricter monitoring of homeschools, Principled Discovery (note discussion in comments section of prior notification of child protective services)
- Thoughts on Protecting Children in Homeschooling Families: The NHEN Response to Questions Posed by the North Carolina Task Force of Child Fatalities (hat tip to JJ)
- WRAL on homeschooling, Musings
- Update on Sean Paddock Case, The Thinking Mother
- Why aren’t they calling for more oversight before people can adopt?, Alasandra’s Homeschool Blog Awards
- Sean’s death will bring about changes, The News & Observer
- Where was Sean Paddock’s father?, The News & Observer
- Death investigations prompt homeschooling recommendations, WRAL