By R.L. Stollar, HA Community Coordinator
Christian Home Educators Association of California (CHEA), California’s statewide Christian homeschool organization, rejected Homeschool Alumni Reaching Out‘s (HARO) application to exhibit at their July 2015 convention in Pasadena, CA, keynoted by Israel Wayne and Norm Wakefield. HARO had applied to exhibit its free child abuse awareness curriculum as well as provide physical copies of that curriculum free of charge to convention attendees. Gerald McKoy, President of CHEA, cited “duplicative” efforts in the area of child abuse awareness and prevention as well as “a significant philosophical difference between” HARO and CHEA.
The text of CHEA’s rejection letter from McKoy follows:
Thank you for your request to exhibit at our convention. Like you, CHEA is very concerned about all forms of child abuse, and we appreciate your concern in this area.
However, we will not be able to accommodate your request to exhibit your curriculum at our convention. This is for two main reasons: 1) we feel this is duplicative of our current efforts in this area, and 2) we feel there is a significant philosophical difference between your organization and ours.
CHEA is concerned for all victims of child abuse of any kind, whether in a homeschooling family or not. Unfortunately, this is a problem in our culture as a whole, which we believe is a direct result of sin in our world—”all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God”—not specific to the homeschooling community. Many studies have been conducted regarding the presence of abuse in our society, and we are grieved that this is a problem that is present in the homeschooling community as well.
CHEA maintains a webpage within the Leadership portion of its website to assist member leaders in this area. We are working to improve and update that area, and we are also in the process of publishing materials for all of our members regarding the problem of child abuse and the signs to be aware of in recognizing it.
We also recognize a significant philosophical difference between CHEA and Homeschool Alumni Reaching Out and its affiliated website Homeschoolers Anonymous.
Again, CHEA remains adamantly opposed to any form of child abuse in families that homeschool and those who do not. CHEA will continue its efforts to educate its members and member organizations in recognizing signs of abuse and the proper response to such signs. We wish you the best in your efforts to protect children.
For the Board of Directors,
While I encouraged to hear the organization aims to make better efforts to educate members about child abuse, I am saddened that McKoy and the other Board Directors of CHEA chose to provide a nebulous “philosophical difference” as reason to reject HARO’s application. No member of CHEA’s board made an effort to contact HARO to discuss what this difference is; thus, HARO is unaware of the content of that objection. Furthermore, my father personally served CHEA for several years as their convention organizer, so I am not unfamiliar with the organization. I fondly remember spending summer weekends at CHEA conventions, helping my father set up and tear down the events. I would have been happy to discuss any potential disagreements.
Finally, it is important to point out that “duplicative efforts” in the area of child abuse awareness and prevention should be more than welcomed in the homeschooling world. This topic has been sorely neglected for decades and we need as many efforts to rectify this silence as possible. It is not a topic that should be relegated to Leadership-only sections on websites. It should be broadcast loudly for all homeschool parents and communities to hear. We must do this work together, as leaders, parents, and — most often neglected — as alumni who understand a different side to homeschooling.
This is the second convention that has rejected HARO’s request to exhibit, following the Great Homeschool Conventions’ retraction last year.
I hope and pray that others will be more receptive in the future.
Full image of CHEA’s letter follows:
Of course child abuse isn’t specific to the homeschool community (what is that community these days, anyway?). What’s specific to the *fundamentalist* homeschoolers is that abuse is mandated as moral and needful.
(Remember Lisa Pennington writing about beating a baby for 30 MINUTES straight? Seriously?? And the Pearls’ plumbing line is also used by Hamas to torture prisoners—it’s because you can really whip someone hard without leaving surface marks for UN inspectors to find after the prisoner is left at a hospital.)
The trouble is, you can’t do to a dog what some fundies (not all) do to children. You beat or starve a dog, you go to jail. You do the same to your kids, it’s apparently your rights as a parent and also commanded by God. First-time obedience without question.
Also: abuse in homeschooling has some differences from abuse in families where the kids go to school, so the issue does have to be addressed differently. Like the recent Alecia case, where homeschooling ensured that her parents never had to get her documents.
“Philosophical Difference” = Thoughtcrime.
“What CHEA needs you to know, Ryan, is that the Emperor already HAS clothes. The Emperor is not naked; the Emperor is being fitted as we speak. We are willing to show you the patterns we have made for the Emperor’s clothes, and we also want to re-affirm that the Emperor is not now and definitely never has been naked.”
Ryan, when you talk about homeschool abuses the way you do, what CHEA hears is “the emperor has no clothes”.
My guess is that, like HSLDA- they don’t have the guts to do what you’re doing, and they don’t have the guts to face what they’ve done.
Oh, and. Philosophical differences.
Why don’t you try, “HSLDA has deeper pockets, so we’ll be sticking with them for right now.”
Good for them!
I don’t think “good” is the word I would have used: http://www.patheos.com/blogs/lovejoyfeminism/2013/05/hslda-man-who-kept-children-in-cages-a-her.html
And for those of you who can’t be bothered with links, here’s a quote:
“The Carrolls still refused to seek medical care for her as she lay in searing pain with horrific burns covering 27% of her body, including one of eyes. They waited and did nothing as she stopped eating and her organs began shutting down one by one. This all they admitted to. And yet, HSLDA termed them ‘a loving Christian couple’ who had suffered the ‘unfortunate death’ of four of their children.”
Have you applied to exhibit at secular homeschooling or unschooling conventions? Maybe they’ll be more receptive.
We have reached out to a few. In the works.
Great! Hope that works out. 🙂
Is there any billboard space available that will be close to this convention? Imagine how a homeschoolers anonymous ad would piss them off. 😀