On March 11, 2009, under the heading "Your Government at Work," Bob Unruh of WorldNetDaily.Com had an article entitled, "Judge orders homeschoolers into public district classrooms: Decides children need more ‘focus’ despite testing above grade levels." I had seen some discussion previously about this on some homeschooling lists. It seems as if a North Carolina judge has ordered three children to attend public schools this fall because the homeschooling their mother has provided over the last four years needs to be "challenged." The children, however, have tested above their grade levels – by as much as two years. The ruling was made by Judge Ned Mangum of Wake County, who was handling a divorce proceeding for Thomas and Venessa Mills. The judge, when contacted by WND, explained his goal in ordering the children to register and attend a public school was to make sure they have a "more well-rounded education." He said, " "I thought Ms. Mills had done a good job [in homeschooling]. It was great for them to have that access, and [I had] no problems with homeschooling. I said public schooling would be a good complement." The judge said the husband has not been supportive of his wife’s homeschooling, and "it accomplished its purposes. It now was appropriate to have them back in public school." Mangum said he made the determination on his guiding principle, "What’s in the best interest of the minor children," and conceded it was putting his judgment in place of the mother’s. A statement released by a publicist working for the mother, whose children now are 10, 11 and 12, said Mangum stripped her of her right to decide what is best for her children’s education. Adam Cothes, a spokesman for the mother, said the children routinely had been testing at up to two years above their grade level, were involved in swim team and other activities and events outside their home and had taken leadership roles in history club events. On her website, family friend Robyn Williams said Mangum stated his decision was not ideologically or religiously motivated but that ordering the children into public schools would "challenge the ideas you’ve taught them." Williams, a homeschool mother of four herself, said, "I have never seen such injustice and such a direct attack against homeschool." Williams said she’s trying to rally homeschoolers across the nation to defend their rights as Americans and parents to educate their own children. According to Williams’ website, the judge also ordered a mental health evaluation for the mother – but not the father – as part of the divorce proceedings, in what Williams described as an attack on the "mother’s conservative Christian beliefs." According to a proposed but as-yet unsigned order submitted by the father’s lawyer to Mangum, "The children have thrived in homeschool for the past four years, but need the broader focus and socialization available to them in public school. The Court finds that it is in the children’s best interest to continue their homeschooling through the end of the current school year, but to begin attending public school at the beginning of the 2009-2010 instructional year." The order proposed by the father’s lawyer also conceded the reason for the divorce was the father’s "adultery," but it specifically said the father would not pay for homeschooling expenses for his children. The website said the judge also said public school would "prepare these kids for the real world and college" and allow them "socialization." Williams said the mother originally moved into a homeschool schedule because the children were not doing as well as she hoped at the local public schools. The North Carolina ruling resembles a number of rulings handed down against homeschool parents in Germany, where such instruction has been banned since the years of Adolf Hitler’s rule. This is precisely why we desparately NEED Home School Legal Defense Association!