HSLDA, the Parental Rights Amendment, and Enabling Child Abusers

I’m sick, I’m really sick. When I wrote back in May about what I suspected was a legal strategy by HSLDA to make homeschooling a fundamental right, I said that I hoped I was wrong. I hoped that HSLDA’s end game wasn’t giving parents the right to do almost anything to their children short of killing them. The following was posted on the ParentalRights.org Facebook page on Monday:  Read that again.  The Parental Rights Amendment establishes that courts must give the highest level of protection – strict scrutiny review – anytime a government action would infringe on parents’ rights. Nearly every law or government action held to this level of review in the past has been declared unconstitutional. What this means is that under the Parental Rights Amendment that HSLDA is campaigning for, remember, an amendment that provides no exceptions to strict scrutiny other than for parental action that would end the life of the child, any attempts to legislate what parents may do to their children is subject to a level of scrutiny where, “[n]early every law or government action held to this level of review in the past has been declared unconstitutional.”   Remember, this is an amendment that specifically had to spell out that murdering your child did not fall under strict scrutiny. That sure looks like they know that without exempting actions causing the death of a child from strict scrutiny, even the decision to murder one’s own child would be a protected parental right subject to the virtually insurmountable strict scrutiny requirements. The fact that the amendment says nothing about beating a child within an inch of his or her life being exempted from strict scrutiny means that even horrific levels of child abuse are subjected to a level of scrutiny where, “[n]early every law or[…]

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Of fundamental rights, HSLDA, and homeschooling

I wasn’t planning on writing more about HSLDA but I was talking to my mom today about HSLDA’s refusal to do anything about child abuse and how it made absolutely zero sense to defend abusers. As I moved on to talking about how I feel that they’re using the Romeike family as pawns in their effort to establish homeschooling as a fundamental right, something dawned on me. Notice that phrase “fundamental right”? It’s a phrase they’ve been throwing around an awful lot when talking about the Romeike case. In law, “fundamental right” has a very specific meaning. It refers to those rights that are basic, foundational rights–things like life, liberty, freedom of association, freedom of movement, freedom of religion, the right to marry, and the right to due process. Under US constitutional law, fundamental rights automatically trigger strict scrutiny. That is, for any law restricting a fundamental right to pass constitutional muster, it must be narrowly tailored to achieve a compelling government interest and must be the least restrictive means of achieving that end. Strict scrutiny is a standard that very few laws can meet. I’ve lost track of the number of times I’ve heard professors describe strict scrutiny as, “strict in theory, fatal in fact.” If you can get the courts to find something to be a fundamental right, you’re pretty much home free. Very few regulations of fundamental rights can survive the strict scrutiny analysis. So, how does this apply to homeschooling? Right now, homeschooling is protected under parental rights to direct the education of their children. Religious freedom comes into play to some extent (especially if you’re Amish–the courts don’t like to mess with the Amish), but with parental rights it’s still a balancing of the right of the parent with the right of the child and the interest of the[…]

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HSLDA and child abuse

I’ve made no secret that I don’t exactly have the most positive opinion about the Homeschool Legal Defense Association’s brand of religious fundamentalism but I never thought that HSLDA was covering for and protecting child abuse. For all of their scare tactics, and for as much as I think that a legal defense organization is unnecessary in a post-Tim Tebow world, I always assumed that the training-up-the-next-generation-of-culture-warriors aside, it really was just about keeping homeschooling legal. That if they were representing a family, it was because the family was wrongly accused. I found out recently that I was completely wrong. HSLDA is pursuing a course of action that is helping to protect child abusers while doing nothing to protect kids. Blogger Libby Anne at Love, Joy, Feminism, herself a K-12 homeschool graduate, has a series of posts exploring HSLDA and child abuse. It’s a long read but I encourage you to take your time to go read it all, it’s an informative series and it opened my eyes as to just how out there HSLDA really is on this. Seriously, go read it, I’ll wait until you get back. Have you read everything? Good, let’s continue. On Tuesday, HSLDA posted an indirect response to Libby Anne’s series by way of a message posted on their facebook page. Their response is basically a bunch of buzzwords and denials that doesn’t address any of the actual allegations. Libby Anne responds here. I had no idea about what HSLDA was really up to and my memories are filtered through the eyes of a homeschool kid reading the Court Report. I rather suspect that this is news to some of the people reading this as well. It makes me mad because this organization that I thought was there to protect homeschooling has ended up protecting[…]

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