The Embarrassment of Protesting Racism: Ariel’s Thoughts

The Embarrassment of Protesting Racism: Ariel’s Thoughts

HA note: The author’s name has been changed to ensure anonymity. “Ariel” is a pseudonym.

In May of 2009, the following email was sent by Teresa Moon of CFC/ICC to myself and other current and former interns concerning the BJU protest.

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I received a note from BJU today that the administration is now aware of the NCFCA Facebook protest. If you have participated in the protest in ANY WAY you need to stop immediately and make every effort to delete all posts.

DO NOT post comments, concerns or even support for the location on any threads related to the National Championship. As you can imagine, it is quite an embarrassment that the Christian Homeschool League engages in such conduct.

If you believe you have already been a party to this, you should contact me right away. If I find that you are engaging in any of this communication, your internship is in jeopardy. It is that serious…

I hope that you are not connected to this in any way. If you are, you have 24 hours to remove yourself entirely from ANY communication, if you ever wish to be on a CFC or ICC platform again…

Teresa M. Moon
Institute for Cultural Communicators, Inc.

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As a politically active person these days, I look back and find this kind of response to be bizarre. I have signed many petitions to get better streets, protect small businesses, and stop bad policies from coming to my city. All of these were perfectly normal, expected ways of participating in the community- both my local community and my national community.

To see this response again is very disappointing. Voicing protest is an essential part of the democratic process, in preserving the integrity of an institution, and in applying critical thinking skills. To see an officially recognized non-profit organization silence protest, especially over a moral and social issue such as racism, is a great disappointment.

25 Reasons To Sign The #HSLDAMustAct Petition

25 Reasons To Sign The #HSLDAMustAct Petition

Please sign the #HSLDAMustAct petition on Change.org!

Yesterday we issued a challenge to HSLDA to commit to taking concrete steps to address child abuse in homeschooling. Specifically, we called for HSLDA, the public face of American homeschooling, to launch a public awareness campaign to fight abuse within our homeschooling communities.

We have an official petition hosted on Change.org. Please sign it and share it with your friends in person, through email, and via social media sites like Facebook and Twitter.

You might wonder, why should I sign this petition? To answer this question, we would like to share 25 reasons for doing so that were publicly posted on our petition’s page by signees. They come from all over, from California to as far as Germany. They are former homeschoolers, former employees and members of HSLDA, and homeschooling parents. These voices are growing by the day and they need to be heard.

So without further ado, here are 25 reasons to sign the #HSLDAMustAct petition:

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Sarah, UNIVERSITY CITY, MO:

This is important to me because I too was an extremely neglected and physically and emotionally abused homeschooled child.

Emily, APO, GERMANY:

As a former employee of HSLDA I am disheartened and sickened to hear of the child abuse cover ups and ignorning blatant neglect of children. This is deeply saddening to me.

Julie Anne, RICHLAND, WA:

Because it’s the right thing to do!

Jessica, BONNY DOON, CA:

I am a survivor of childhood abuse and worked in the field for years- My care goes deep, esp. when children are manipulated about the soul’s deep need to have a relationship with spirit, True Nature – God – by parents, ministers etc who use this need to abuse and distort children’s relationship with themselves, with God or no God.

Samuel, HUNTSVILLE, AL:

As a former homeschooler who did NOT deal with abuse firsthand, I DID witness how the “homeschool community” worked together to hide abuse that was occurring in families within its midst.

Ryan, SPRINGFIELD, OR:

Abuse happens everywhere, and this includes homeschooling families. HSLDA, the public face of homeschooling in the U.S., should make a public and principled stand against it.

Wesley, GRANADA HILLS, CA:

As a homeschooler who befriended children of two abusive homeschooling families, I know that these problems exist and must be addressed. Child abuse, both physical and (perhaps predominately) psychological, is a major problem in homeschooling circles and must be addressed. Parents who abuse their children do not deserve to be legally shielded from the state.

Matthew, COLORADO SPRINGS, CO:

I was a homeschooler, and I’m against child abuse!!!

Alessandra, ROANOKE, VA:

As someone who was homeschooled through highschool, and involved in HSLDA growing up, it’s important that whilst preserving the ability to homeschool, those involved in it not turn a blind eye to abuse and neglect. Fixing that problem needs to start from within the “homeschool movement.”

Mari, WATERTOWN, SD:

I was homeschooled which gave my parents numerous opportunities to abuse me. Homeschooling could be a great thing — but ONLY when it is done in a public manner and ONLY when parents are held accountable for their actions.

Sarah, OVERLAND, MO:

I am so torn about this. As someone who was homeschooled K-12 and homeschools my own children, I am a huge advocate for homeschooling rights and the ability to choose our own curriculum and such. But as a foster parent, I’ve seen abuse. I have friends who have suffered abuse. We cannot protect any abuser, and while I believe in “innocent until proven guilty”, we should not be allowing child abusers to continue homeschooling their kids when we would be fighting for removal of these kids for any other parent. I’ve seen abused kids going back to their abusers. I can’t imagine how it would feel if they were also allowed no escape from the abuser to even go to school. This is a very slippery slope as CPS is called for things like not vaccinating, but it does worry me when people don’t do basic doctor visits under the guise of “autonomy”. I know from experience that most cases of abuse are discovered at school and at dr visits. If we have nothing to hide, then we cannot be defending abusers.

Kierstyn, FREEPORT, ME:

As an ex-homeschooler raised in an abusive family who *are* still members of HSLDA, I’m tired of abusers being defended in court because “homeschooling” couldn’t possibly have anything wrong with it.

Chandra, FESTUS, MO:

It is morally repugnant and hypocritical that an organization that claims to defend parents right to educate their children (predominantly for religious purposes), will not address nor speak to the atrocities and abuses that occur because of the lack of oversight on parents who chose such an option. HSLDA, though in their statement has said, “We believe that every child deserves a healthy upbringing and that parents have the high honor and duty to meet that child’s needs;” will not define abuse, nor have they ever in their 30 year existence ever condoned or supported a piece of legislation that would provide protections for children and thereby recognizing that there are abusive (and even deadly) cases that have occured in the name of home schooling. In a country whose very freedom HSLDA touts, will not grant these same freedoms to the youngest and most vulnerable citizens of this great nation. It is time for a change. This is a human rights issue, and we will not be silent until we have seen such change take place.

Catherine, ALEXANDRIA, VA:

My parents abused me emotionally, physically, and spiritually for 18 years. Because I was homeschooled, they were able to do so constantly and could control every detail of my life. I’ve stayed silent for far too long, and there are many others who want to have a voice, but they are being silenced by their abusers–their parents. It’s time to shed some light on the dark side of homeschooling.

Hannah, MURRAY, NE:

As a former homeschooled student K-12 who was abused, I felt no protection and was told I should not report abuse to authorities, because my parents were told never to talk to CPS or the police by HSLDA. Now a mother, I realize the necessity of accountability for parents, including myself.

Kathryn, GAINESVILLE, FL:

As a homeschool graduate, I believe that it’s high time that HSLDA stop covering for abuse and neglect. It’s time for them to develop an abuse prevention program and to stop pretending this is not a problem.

Cheryl, ALEXANDRIA, VA:

I have spent the last 10 years of my adult life recovering from being given a tool box that does not fit in the world we live in. Scripture should never be used to oppress or to shield abusers. Stand up for the innocent, the children. It’s what Jesus calls us to.

Jai, CHARLOTTE, NC:

I was raised homeschooled. My parents were long time HSLDA members and all of us suffered severe spiritual abuse as well as mental abuse and the problems of the Quiverfull movement. I support this petition and ask that HSLDA school members in the definitions of abuse, child rights, and put forth a system for stopping it and reporting it when it occurs.

Shaney, AUSTIN, TX

As a former homeschooler, I’m appalled at HSLDA’s willingness to ignore, and even indirectly promote, child abuse. This needs to stop.

David, BEAVER FALLS, PA:

I was homeschooled and while I certainly did not live in fear of abuse, I also believe it’d be easy for negligent and abusive parents to go under the radar.

Scottie, TULSA, OK:

I have several friends and even family members who work with Child Protective Services. The information and advice HSLDA spreads in a nominal attempt to help homeschooling families defend their rights in reality only hurts their cause in the long run. Fighting CPS at every turn gives homeschoolers a bad name and makes it extremely difficult to investigate cases of actual abuse. HSLDA should be working WITH CPS and similar agencies to help root out ACTUAL cases of abuse whenever present, refuse to defend or speak well of parents who DO abuse their children, and recognize and communicate that some families SHOULD NOT homeschool their children, at least not without significan oversight and accountability.

Rachel, BLOOMINGTON, IN:

As a homeschooled child growing up, I bought the HSLDA line that Child Protective Services were out to take me and my siblings away from my parents because they were Christian homeschoolers. As a teen I read Michael Farris’s book, Anonymous Tip, which only cemented this fear. Teaching children that those who want to help them are actually out to hurt them is actually a tactic child abusers use to keep their victims under their control, and yet that is the message HSLDA gives to homeschooled children. For shame, HSLDA. For shame.

Naomi, FULTON, MO:

Even if 99% of homeschooling families were functional and happy, HSLDA must do something about the 1% where children are neglected and abused. To do otherwise is to be complicit with the crime and to send a message that HSLDA cares more about power than it does about children.

Scarlettah, LOS ANGELES, CA:

There are growing numbers of former homeschoolers telling of their abusive experiences enabled by the lack of internal and external awareness of and interest in keeping kids safe. There is a vacuum created when parental rights are preserved and elevated to the exclusion of children’s rights. Please work to protect these children, not just their parents.

Rebecca, LOS ALTOS, CA:

As a homeschooled student, I experienced and observed this problem first hand. My parents (and the rest of my homeschooling community) knew of at least one homeschooling family that had rather extreme abuse, but didn’t dare report it because of the message they received from HSLDA not to involve the government, lest it bring any additional oversight of homeschooling families. I believe that every child deserves to have their humanity respected and honored. HSLDA, stand up for children and stand up to abuse.

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Thank for your support thus far. Please continue to bring awareness to this crucial matter. Make your voice known on HSLDA’s Facebook page. Tweet HSLDA at @HSLDA with the tag #HSLDAMustAct.

Together, we can make homeschooling better.