(NOTE: My previous post reported the serious illness of my father. He passed away on Sunday, Sept. 5. We just returned home yesterday after trying to begin some arrangements for the disposition of his affairs.)
In an item headlined, “Home schoolers victims of U.N. treaty,” Bill Bumpas of OneNewsNow reported the following on 9/10/2010.
The U.S.-based Home School Legal Defense group fears a U.N. treaty is causing increasing problems for home schoolers in various countries. The latest example involves four families in Botswana who have been ordered to send their children to public school.
In July, police and social workers raided the homes of the Seventh Day Adventist families and seized their teaching materials. Despite evidence showing that the children were being well-cared for and that their education was being provided, the families were ordered to cease home education.
Mike Donnelly, director of international relations for the Home School Legal Defense Association, explains the state’s rationale:
“The magistrate judge basically said that these parents were products of the public school systems themselves, that [home schooling] was a cheap form of education, and that the children had a right to an education under the U.N. Convention on the Rights of the Child — and that the parents should therefore enroll their children in school.”
Donnelly is concerned that countries like Botswana and Sweden are using the UNCRC against homeschooling families.
“The government officials in these countries all seem to interpret ‘the right to education’ — which is one of the clauses in the U.N. Convention on the Rights of the Child — to equal enrollment in public school…,” says the HSLDA spokesman. “[I would argue that] is clearly not what is intended…but that’s how it’s being interpreted.”
The Botswana families are determined to continue home schooling. “I must obey God,” one father is quoted as saying. “The schools here are corrupt and teach my children things that go against our faith and our values. I cannot allow them to go to these schools.”
Donnelly is hoping for a stay in the judgment as well as intervention from government leaders. The parents have been ordered to appear before the court today to report their compliance with the order.