Just over three weeks ago Richard and Margie Cressey of Glen, New York, were arrested on charges of “endangering a child.” What was their crime? They had been homeschooling their four boys for seven years … and had not registered with the state! According to home school leaders in New York, the incident began with a visit from Child Protective Services, probably the result of an anonymous complaint. Shortly after that the Sheriff’s office investigated, and the parents were arrested.
The incident generated a firestorm of protest from the home school community in New York, and the Sheriff’s office defended its actions by stating that they were only enforcing the law. Indeed, the law in New York requires families to register annually with the school district in which they live and to present their curriculum for approval. The family was scheduled to appear in court yesterday to face these charges, and we should pray for them. They have already registered with the school district and had their curriculum approved.
Friends in New York, who know the family, say the Sheriff made a comment that the kids needed to be in public school or they would never be successful. This incident serves as a good example of why home schoolers oppose the often-recommended regulation of registering with the state and having “educational experts” approve curriculum. Those laws only serve to give officials, who believe that they are better equipped than parents to decide what is best for children, a way to insert themselves into the lives of innocent families.
The legislature in New York has passed some of the most restrictive laws in the country for home school families. Lest we think this will never happen in Texas, there are many bureaucrats in Texas who hold views similar to the New York Sheriff.
Now is the time to talk to candidates who are running for local and state office about home schooling and to educate them on our issue and why we believe that parents deserve the freedom to direct the education and upbringing of their children without the heavy hand of government oversight and interference.