Saturday, February 25, 2012

Christian homeschooling and abuse

I’ve always been a little Leary of Christian homeschooling movement. I had a willowy young girl living across the street from me a few years back. Her fundie parents homeschooled her and her younger brother. They used to play with my youngest son. It was always awkward. They could not watch TV, play video games, use a computer or read unapproved books. I remember her mother freaking out when she saw our library. The mother pleaded with me to keep the books away from her child. Of course, I let her read whatever she wanted to.

The girl was a maladjusted socially awkward mess. She did not know how to act around adults, nor did she relate to other children well. Neither of her parents had graduated from high school, yet they were arrogant enough to homeschool their children and attempted to tell me public schools will ruin my kids. I’ll make sure to send them a note after my son graduates from Berkeley…

I ran into the homeschooled girl a few years ago. She was living with foster parents. Her story was a sad one. Apparently, there had been some abuse and she was pulled from her home. She had not seen her bother in a long time. She was sad and more than a little odd. I felt sorry for her, but I had hope. She was attending public school.

The problem with homeschooling, besides the obvious lack of qualifications, is the lack of accountability and oversight. When my neighbors got into trouble with the local school district, they moved. After a few years of this, the damage to a child’s development is severe. When you add physical or sexual abuse to the mix, the damage can be far worse.

I got thinking about this because of pastor James Monson. He was arrested for allegedly molesting a 16-year-old girl that he helping to homeschool. I bet the sessions were private…

JamesMonsonMonson faces charges of sex with a child and sexual exploitation by a therapist. The victim alleges she engaged in sex with the pastor. I’m sure she thought she was in love. Her mother brought the case to the police, but I’ve got to ask, “What were you thinking?”

James Monson is the pastor of Gaining Ground Community Church is Sparta, Wisconsin. Their website is down and their Facebook page is friendless.

Let me draw a picture for you. In a public school it is hard to abuse children. I say hard, but not impossible. Public schools have policy, oversight and witnesses working for them. It’s hard to abuse children in that scenario. Homeschools have none of that. If you are subbing in a pastor as a homeschool teacher, then you are turning you child over to an unsupervised adult male who thinks he’s a holy man. My blog is full of examples of holy men abusing children. By the way, these men are not holy; they are not men of God either. No, they are just men. Would you turn your 16-year-old daughter over to a man for private homeschooling? No reasonably cautious person would do so. How does it feel mother of the victim? You served your daughter up for the sexual pleasure of a pedophile pastor, She will carry the scars for life.  And as a homeschooler… she might do so as a cashier in he local Wal-Mart.