Commenting here yesterday, some mischievous fool wrote;
'if the LAs can claim control of >90% of HE kids, they'll have big bragging rights - and that translates into power, glory and money.'
This must surely be the most stupid thing that anybody has ever said on this blog and the competition for that unenviable distinction is pretty stiff! Let us try to see why local authorities really appear to be hounding certain home educators and what those parents can do to avoid being, as they see it, harassed.
I mentioned a case of abuse yesterday that involved home educated children. Predictably, most of those commenting here could not see the problem. This is in stark contrast to everybody who is not a home educator; that is to say the other 99.9% of the population. Every parent of a child at school who reads that story can see precisely why some professionals are concerned about home education. Let me give another example and see if readers will get the point. On some home education lists, parents who do not want to be known to their local authority have said that one way they avoid this is by not registering their children with a GP. Some talk of moving from one area to another and leaving no forwarding address for their old LA. Combining this with not registering with a doctor, means that they can stay ‘under the radar’, as home educating parents call it. Here is an experiment that any reader can try. Tell some parent with a child at school that you know somebody who keeps their child at home, not sending her to school. Now explain that this parent is so desperately keen that nobody find out about this, that she refuses to register her child at a GP. What do you suppose that any ordinary parent will make of this? Try it and see. I have so far found 100% rate of parents who think that the parent behaving in this strange way must be trying to conceal something that is going on with her child. Why else would she jeopardise her child’s health in this way?
This is an instance of what I am talking about. To many home educators, this sort of thing is perfectly normal and understandable; to the rest of the world, it is sheer lunacy and probably indicates something very wrong in a family. Things get even worse when you ask social workers and health professionals about this kind of profile. Unfortunately, moving from one area to another with a child and then trying to lose the kid’s records by not leaving a forwarding address for a local authority education department, combined with keeping the child from school and failing to register with a GP is classic behaviour of an abusive parent. It is textbook stuff, which would set alarm bells ringing all over the place if it came to light. I don’t want to debate the rights and wrongs of this; I am simply telling readers that this is the unmistakable footprint of an abuser.
The problem here of course is that those home educators who carry on in this mad way are almost certainly not abusers. However, if you set out to mimic the lifestyle and behaviour of a certain type of criminal, then you really cannot be surprised if you are mistaken for the real thing! If I put on a mask to conceal my face and start prowling around back streets in the small hours, then I can hardly complain when the police mistake me for a genuine burglar or potential rapist.
Essentially, what is happening is this. A group of people, most of whom are quite innocent, are deliberately setting out to imitate the lifestyle and adopt the actions of abusive parents. In the process, they waste everybody’s time by generating hundreds, perhaps thousands of false positives; each of which must be investigated. Having set out in this way to do their best to fit into the classic profile of serious abusers, they squeal their heads off when those coming into contact with them sometimes mistake them for the real thing. Idiots! They are the architects of their own misfortune and I have little sympathy for them. I have a great deal of sympathy for the poor devils whose professional duty entails sifting through all this chaff to find the wheat. Their job is made immeasurably more difficult by these antics and then on top of it, some clown suggests that they are checking these silly parents for the ‘power, glory and money’! Why, you damned fool, they are doing their job and attempting to find out who is the real abuser among these identical cases and which are just irritating, middle class parents playing silly buggers.