Friday, January 23, 2009

Homeschooling a cover for abuse?

UK Children's Minister Delyth Morgan speculates, without giving any evidence, that Home schooling 'could be a cover for child abuse and sexual exploitation'.

Of course, there are abusive parents, and some might very well (pretend to) be homeschooling as a way to conceal their evil doings.

However, Morgan fails to consider that pedophiles are also likely to seek out jobs where they can be around children—for example, teaching in the schools. There have been many, many documented cases of school teachers abusing the children entrusted to them, sexually and otherwise.

In addition, abuse by peers is rampant in institutional schooling; while some schools are starting to take this seriously, even the best teachers cannot know everything that goes on when there are twenty or thirty students for each staff member. And of course there are unfortunately some teachers who will blame the victim or tell them to toughen up rather than teaching the bullies to behave themselves.

Morgan's comments obviously won't deter parents from homeschooling if that is what they think is best for their family. As a homeschooling parent, I know that the chance of me abusing my son is zero; I could not say the same for any institutional school.

It defies common sense to claim the odds of being abused by a homeschooling parent are higher than the odds of being abused by any of the many teachers, other school staff, and fellow students. A child will be exposed to many more risky situations in even the best school than with a loving parent at home.

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