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: