10 February 2010

What is WRONG With These People?

There is just so much blame to go around. A child is allegedly locked in a bathroom closet for months, let out only to be beaten and exercised to the point of exhaustion, and fed a few cans of food and some bread every few days or so. Did I mention she was "homeschooled?" Her dad wants to take "homeschool excellence" to a whole new level, because this is the punishment for cheating on a test at his school. (Um, given his "punishments," I can see the motivation to cheat on a test in order to get a good grade, mmkay?)

There are other children in the family who apparently have relationships with neighbours and friends... but they never told anyone their sister needed help. No one in the area even knew this family had a 14-year-old girl. How scared and intimidated do those kids have to be to stand by and watch their sister starving to death, beaten and locked up? Man. Words fail me.

I looked at the HSLDA website and apparently in Arizona, all you have to do each year (besides actually homeschool!) is file an affadavit. I suppose it is vaguely possible that she was just a name to those folks. If she never took any classes at school, that's certainly understandable. But didn't SOMEONE miss her? Clerk at a grocery store? Old friend? Anyone?

Turns out, plenty of people thought something was up. Look at the video attached to the news story. People near the current place the family is living had NO CLUE about this young woman. Travel back in their timeline just a little, though, and you'll find folks who knew this girl and were concerned. The state child welfare agency was involved. HELLO, news people, how about reporting that little fact instead of just noting the "homeschool" part?

It was on the radar! The child welfare department could probably not have PREVENTED all suffering (come on, no one can... even the police are called AFTER a crime is committed, right?), but they could have figured out if they checked on their current caseload every six months or so that the child is losing a bit of weight, bruised up and making claims of being locked in a closet??? Ya think??

On a smaller scale, this is Benita Jacks all over again. And you watch... instead of requiring physical eyeball-on-child checks on active cases every six months, they'll propose more homeschool regulations and tie in medical records with homeschooling JUST like they do in public schools. And I don't think it would prevent this sort of thing from happening because transient families are hard to keep track of, let alone dealing with the problems of their truant children. Whether they TRY or not, is of course another story.

Nevermind the "homeschool vs public school" thing for just a minute here, because honestly? I feel that "controversy" is really just a glitch in the reporting. The problem is that a child was tortured for months or years and nearly starved to death, but never removed from the situation. And I'd like to know why.

What is WRONG with people??

6 comments:

  1. I read about this girl last night and thought--Mrs. C will write about this. It is sad and horrible and you are right--I bet it all comes down to more focus on homeschool. Here we have to file and application to homeschool and re-submit that every six months. It's not for approval, it has more to do with the small stipend the government gives to homeschoolers (won't buy any curriculum).

    If this case had occurred here they would have likely placed the girl with a close relative while the counselled the family--and then returned her to them in a few months. There would have been no prosecution. They are so light on these types of things, even when they involve death. A group of teenagers who tortured and ultimately killed a 2 year old girl last year got less then 3 years each. It's very sad.

    We just had a prominent doctor in a town South of us who was charged with trafficking in child pornography. The FBI alerted officials here because he had over 300,000 images. Well, he got house arrest and permanent name suppression--although it has been leaked. He is going to have his license to practice suspended, but come on. That is like a slap on the wrist. His office shares an address with a pre-school. And no one in the justice department here seems to see the urgency in this situation.

    It's a crazy world we live in where justice is so subjective. And where its easier to focus on the homeschool component the case involving this poor girl--instead of on the bad parenting or the child welfare system.

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  2. I seen news headlines before and little bits of the story, but this was the first I seen indicting that she was "homeschooled". No ONE should have to go through that!

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  3. Bonnie, I'm not sure how I feel about the possiblity of this girl being placed with relatives, because they can't be that close if they haven't had a clue all this time.

    Usually I'm very anti-state-raising-kids, but wow. It's time for a foster home for this girl, don't you think??

    I'm not really clear as to where she really is, though. Or where the other sibs would be.

    SAHMinIL, I thought the "homeschooling" just to be thrown in as a bit of an explanation as to why people at school wouldn't have caught this... not *necessarily* out of outright bias. I know "why didn't the school catch this??" would have been the first question on my mind.

    I was trying to reiterate that it isn't a hs or ps issue... I think what we're seeing here could happen very easily with migrant workers' children and other transient folks whether their kids are in ps or not. No real records or way to keep track of how kids are doing.

    Usually that's not a bad thing at all. And I'm a very pro-parent sort of person. I'm also pro-firearms, but I sure don't think everyone ought to own a gun... and I don't think every person should be entitled to children when they treat them this way.

    I hope they lose custody and never see her again if this story is remotely true. And I truly hope they get the HELP THEY NEED. This is just gut-wrenching.

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  4. Yeah even when they go to school it doesn't catch people attention. There was a similar story that broke earlier this month and the girl WENT to school.

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  5. Yea, that's what I was saying to DH today. Even if these people were sending their kids to school--it is likely they still would have been bad parents the other 16 hours of the day. Why is school the only way that we identify when a child is in trouble? I would ask what you did: where are the other family members, where are the neighbors, etc.? So sad.

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  6. So sad.
    There was a story just reported here last week about 16 year old twin boys... who were kept inside their house 24/7 ALL OF THEIR LIVES... and no one knew they even existed except their mother and her partner (not the boy's father)... and the authorities only found out because the mother killed herslef! UNBELIEVABLE in this day and age eh? They were illiterate, and totally devoid of any common sense, knowlegde of the world etc. so sad.

    AS for your story... why even try to blame Homeschooling? It had nothing to do with how that child was being treated. Pfffffft.

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