As we have frequently reported here at Health Impact News, legislative efforts are underway in many states to remove parental choice for childhood vaccines, with new proposed bills removing religious and philosophical exemptions to childhood vaccines which are mandated as a requirement for school attendance. In general, the public is opposed to removing parental consent to vaccines, and most bills seeking to remove parental authority have been met with stiff opposition and been defeated at the state level. One bill that was successful, was SB277 which was passed in California in 2015 removing the religious and philosophical exemptions to vaccines. Today, the only option parents in California have to get an exemption to vaccines as a requirement for school attendance, is to get their doctor to sign a medical exemption. However, the pro-pharmaceutical lobby in California has not been satisfied with the results of SB277, and are now going after doctors who write medical exemptions for vaccines. Most doctors in California now fear writing medical exemptions to vaccines as they would risk losing their license to practice medicine in California. Parents who now want to protect their children from the dangers of the CDC vaccine schedule, either by refusing certain vaccines or following a different vaccine schedule, are left with almost no options. As a result, many parents are choosing to homeschool their children to escape the mandatory vaccine mandates. It should come as no surprise, therefore, that the vaccine extremists, who believe that ALL vaccines are safe for ALL children ALL the time, by force if necessary, are now targeting homeschool children. Several states are proposing new laws that would require homeschool families to allow government-represented medical professionals to come into their homes to approve them as home schools, including checking the children's medical records to ensure they are following the CDC vaccine schedule.
Should All Homeschooled Children be Required to Report to “Child Protection Services” to Check for Abuse?
Marie Cohen’s latest column in The Chronicle calls for requiring that every parent who homeschools a child bring that child before a mandated reporter of child abuse for periodic inspection. As with every other well-intentioned proposal to intrude on families, the problem with this one is the harm it would do to children. The singling out of homeschoolers is odd for several reasons. The children most at risk of abuse or neglect are the youngest. So the same logic behind this proposal requires that every child from birth to at least kindergarten age also be presented for periodic inspection. Cohen even is selective in the lessons she chooses to draw from horror stories; and once again, horror stories are Cohen’s entire argument. In the two Iowa cases she cites, the children were homeschooled. They also were adopted from foster care. In one case, relatives desperate to take in the child were turned down. Yet Cohen offers no sweeping conclusions about regulating foster care or adoption.
Friends of the Naugler family in Kentucky reached out to us and asked us to tell their story. Their 10 homeschooled children were allegedly taken away by Breckinridge County Sheriff deputies and CPS this week, allegedly acting on an anonymous tip. The officers reportedly had no warrant to enter their property. Nicole Naugler is currently 5 months pregnant, and reportedly attempted to drive away from the property with a couple of the children. Officers allegedly detained her from leaving her own property, and when she objected to them taking away her children, they allegedly "slammed (her) belly first into the cop car and bruised and scraped on both arms." They also allegedly arrested her for "disorderly conduct" when she objected to them taking away her children, and spent the night in jail. All ten children are reportedly now in State custody. Much of the encounter with CPS and the Sheriff deputies was recorded, and the recordings are available on the Save Our Family blog.
Throughout history, people have taken a stand for their faith which oftentimes resulted in unfavorable consequences for the individuals. For disabled veteran David Owen and his wife Teresa, their refusal to stop practicing their Christian faith was ultimately used as a rationale in Kansas Kansas Department for Children and Families (DCF) seizing custody of their two special needs daughters, Angel and Catrina. According to Teresa Owen: ''Our daughters were wrongfully removed from our home because we refused to stop attending church and teaching our daughters about Christ. Angel and Catrina are being wrongfully kept out of our home, abused, and medically neglected. We are still fighting for our daughters and trying to help other families.'' Their children were taken at the beginning of 2011. To this day, they are not home, and Teresa and David are fighting to regain custody of their daughters. They believe their daughters are being abused both physically and emotionally in State custody, and are pleading with people to get their story published.
A Warren County (New Jersey) family is suing the state's Division of Child Protection and Permanency for alleged unconstitutional home intrusion and civil rights violations. Christopher Zimmer and his wife Nicole, of Belvidere, filed a civil rights complaint in United States District Court in Trenton against DCP&P. "I won't forget that morning for a long, long time," said Mr. Zimmer, thinking back to a Tuesday morning in January that began with a caseworker pounding on their door. Mr. Zimmer said that the caseworker demanded she be let inside, adding that the family did not have a choice. Startled by her aggression, Mr. Zimmer questioned why she was there. The Zimmers allege that the caseworker refused to answer the question, until later admitting that the homeschooling of 15-year-old Christopher Zimmer, Jr. was the focus of her investigation. Not knowing the extent of his rights, Mr. Zimmer called town police to sort out the matter, but police ultimately said the caseworker was allowed to come into the house. Their suit alleges that home schooling issues aren’t the responsibility of the DCP&P.
KPCC reported this week that the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors will pay $800,000 to the parents of two children taken from their home by a Sheriff’s deputy and social workers with the Department of Children and Family Services, who did not obtain a warrant first. According to KPCC, the lawsuit states that the complaint used by DCFS centered around what the homeschooled family chose to feed their children, and for failing to vaccinate them: Social workers with the Department of Children and Family Services claimed the parents “created a detrimental and endangering home environment” for the children by failing to provide nourishing food and immunizations. The lawsuit describes the deputy mocking the parents for not immunizing their children based on religious beliefs and homeschooling them. It accuses him of coercing the parents into a search of their hotel room. “You could lose your kids forever,” he allegedly threatened.
The Fourth Amendment strikes a carefully crafted balance between a family’s right to privacy and the government’s need to enforce the law. In most situations, government agents cannot simply force their way into a home. Instead, they must explain to a neutral magistrate why they need to enter the home, and they must provide real evidence to support that need. This rule applies to all government agents. Court after court has agreed that there is no social services exception to the Fourth Amendment. All too often, law enforcement officers and child-welfare workers act as if the Fourth Amendment does not apply to CPS investigations. They are wrong.