A New Hampshire homeschooled young lady has been forced to go to public school.
Apparently her mom and dad are divorced. The mother apparently has primary custody and is homeschooling her, while the father wants her to go to public school. Her homeschool records indicate she is successful in the environment.
A court attendant was assigned to observe the situation and feels that “it would be remarkable if a ten-year-old child who spends her school time with her mother and the vast majority of all her other time with her mother would seriously consider adopting any other religious point of view.”
Couple of thoughts:
(1) The girl is having success in homeschool. It’s working for her. She’s learning.
(2) The court attendant made her recommendation based on diversity of religious material rather than apparent effectiveness of the educational environment.
(3) Court attendants and social workers are required to make decisions based on the “best interest of the child.”
(4) This attendant has defined “best interest of the child” to mean that children should be exposed to a wide variety of religious material, if any at all. This is the most reasonable way to interpret her statement.
If the assumptions above are accurate (and there really is nothing to indicate they are not), then it appears the government has entered into the business of defining how much religion is too much for a child to receive.
This causes me to ask a handful of questions:
- How much time away from the mother is appropriate to ensure the child does not receive too much religion?
- How does attendance at public school expose the child to other religious viewpoints when schools are required to be religion-neutral?
- Was the point to expose the child to other religions or simply remove her from over-exposure to only one?
- When exactly is one over-exposed to a religion? How is this defined?
- If the objective is to allow the child to see other religious views, what benchmarks has the court implemented to ensure the child receives a wide swath of religious exposure?
If the courts intend to intrude into these kinds of family decisions, then society should be willing to ask questions that keep them accountable.