Since I am apparently on the verge of being banned from the Badman Review Action Group and shall not, in any case, be posting there again, I feel free to speak my mind pretty freely about recent events on that list.
On February 27th, a man called Christopher Warren posted a message on the BRAG list, providing a link to a website which he ran. He was greeted enthusiastically and people hastened to endorse and cross-post details of his site to other home education lists. He now features quotations from those who welcomed him to BRAG on his website. He had been a member for over four months before posting this, which is alarming in the light of what later came to light. Why was he welcomed so uncritically and trusted at once? The answer is devastatingly simple; he said he was a home educator. It is as straightforward as that. The fact that he was posting under the Lithuanian name for the Russia city of Kaliningrad, which in turn led to the profile of somebody called Mindy Pace, did not seem to arouse any suspicions. I have now explained just who this person is, both here and on BRAG itself. I am indebted to Allie, who comments here, for other information regarding allegations against this truly dreadful man, for example;
The first of these is sickening. It alleges that Christopher Warren seduced a fifteen year old girl when he was thirty eight. Combined with his own writings, it tells us that here is a man who is best raving mad and at worst an unbelievably wicked child molester.
The response of some members of the Badman Review Action Group to these revelations has been interesting. One might think that the general reaction would be; 'Oh heavens, what on earth have we done? We have welcomed this dreadful man into our community and allowed him to make contact with any number of parents, some of whom might have vulnerable children.' Because this is what has happened. On the strength of claiming to be a home educator, this awful person has wormed his way into the good graces of British home educators. What his motives are, the Good Lord alone knows. Perhaps he is looking for more fifteen year-old girls to abuse. It makes my flesh crawl, even to think about this. The reaction of the list's owner was quite different. The person to blame was me! By drawing attention to this man's mad and/or wicked character, I was spreading poison and 'digging dirt'. the obvious solution was to ban me from the list and then everybody could get back to cosying up to any sort of rogue who turned up, saying, 'Trust me, I'm a home educator.'
Fortunately, some others on the list saw the danger. Others though said that we should not judge this man and that he was entitled to his views. This, in my opinion, takes liberal mindedness to the length of raving lunacy. I certainly expected no thanks for drawing attention to this dangerous character's true nature. One does not expect that in this world! But to find myself cast in the role of villain for warning people to be careful of him is really a bit much. For this reason, I am withdrawing from the BRAG list and shall not post there again. They can welcome as many cult leaders or paedophiles on there as they wish. I will make one point though. As readers will no doubt recollect, only one of the terms of reference for the review of elective home education undertaken by Graham Badman actually concerned education per se. The others were hinting broadly that home educated children might be at risk of various kinds of abuse. When a cult leader like Christopher Warren finds it so easy to make contact with home educating parents in this country, to be welcomed into their community and swiftly endorsed and recommended to other parents is alarming. It is the sort of thing which makes one wonder how many other such individuals might be out there, perhaps preying on vulnerable families by use of the recommendations which they have received uncritically from high profile home educators here; people whose word home educating parents trust. Perhaps we should be a little more cautious about people of this sort until we know more about them. The fact that somebody claims to be a home educator is not in itself a guarantee that he is not also a crazed cultist or child molester.