If there is a stick anywhere about, one can as a general rule expect many home educators to catch hold of the wrong end of it. After the post which I published recently about Christopher Warren, some people commenting here seem to think that I am suggesting that there is something sinister about his connection with Alison Sauer and Kelly Green; some kind of conspiracy perhaps. I was hinting at nothing of the sort. Let me state the case as clearly as I am able and see whether or not people grasp the nature of the problem.
Some home educators feel beleagured and under threat from governments and local authorities. As a result, they adopt an attitude that all home educators should stick together for self-protection. When somebody steps forward and says, ‘I’m a home educator, trust me’; why then, they tend to do just that.
Alison Sauer, Kelly Green, Tania Berlow and a number of others all have a broadly similar outlook on home education. They encourage each other in these beliefs and make common cause with others who say that they feel the same way. When a dangerous, religious maniac with a predilection for under-age girls gets in touch with people like this, their first instinct is often not to ask themselves who on earth this man is or to examine his background. It is instead to welcome him with open arms as a fellow persecuted home educator. This was what happened in Alison Sauer's and Kelly Green's case certainly. When the man concerned is alleged to be a predatory paedophile who operates via the Internet to find lonely and vulnerable women with young daughters; this can cause problems and possibly expose children to danger. Warren is holed up in compound in Sweden with a number of ’wives’. It is widely believed that he recruits new members to this strange commune on the Internet. Accepting that somebody is OK simply because he says that he is a home educator is incredibly dangerous. Publicly endorsing a man like this, as Karen Rodgers did, or naming him alongside other genuine home educators on a blog, as Kelly Green did by publicly thanking him for his help, is reckless and irresponsible.
There are quite a few vulnerable single mothers reading the Badman Review Action Group, the Kelly Green and Gold blog and so on. If they see somebody like Christopher Warren being publicly associated with home education, praised and applauded by high profile home educators; then it has the effect of making some people think that he must be OK and trustworthy. They feel that he is in the same category as Alison Sauer, Kelly green and Karen Rodgers; just one more person fighting hard for the fundamental freedom to home educate.
My contention is that only in home educating circles would such a man find it so easy to be accepted and endorsed. I have sent his details to a few friends who work with children in both the statutory and voluntary circle. All were horrified at the thought of such a person being associated with any movement or group involving children. There are clearly many questions to be answered about Warren and his activities and yet as far as some home educators are concerned, the fact that he is, or claims to be, a home educator trumps any such worries. By definition, he must be OK; he’s a home educator! As I remarked in a previous post, this is a disaster waiting to happen. If well known home educators are prepared to cosy up to such a man as this and ignore the warning signs; who else are they playing footsy with? And yet even after I drew attention to these matters on the Badman Review Action Group, the anger was directed against me. People were agitating for my removal from the list for telling people about Warren and the kind of person he is. Their way of dealing with the problem was to allow Warren to keep posting and even publish a link to his website.
My concern is, as I said a few days ago, that there are other people like this lurking in the world of home education. Those who have been friendly with Christopher Warren are obviously blind to the dangers and take any plausible rogue at face value, just as long as he utters the magic words: ‘I’m a home educator’. Terrible attitude, terrible danger for children.