If you’ve caught any of the headlines over the last couple weeks, you will have heard about a child abuse case involving a family called the Turpins. When one of David and Louise Turpin’s 13 children managed to escape the abusive household and call the police, authorities were led to a filthy “House of Horrors” where many of the children were shackled to their beds as well as being severely malnourished.
No doubt, it was horrific. But when it was revealed that the family’s California home was registered as a private school with father David listed as the principle, home-schooling critics began popping up from every corner of the internet.
While some scrutiny is required regarding the checks and balances of setting up a private homeschool, many have found it unnerving that such an emphasis was placed on the schooling style adopted by the family, as opposed to an abject outrage over warning signs missed by neighbors and family alike.
“Instead of training tough scrutiny where it belongs — on the parents, relatives and acquaintances of the alleged victims — California legislators and narrative-shaping liberal journalists have instead directed their wrath at homeschooling,” writes Michelle Malkin at The Daily Wire.
Malkin highlights the importance of remembering, in light of this case, that the vast majority of home-schooling parents are balanced, caring and nurturing individuals. “Yet, public school lobbyists have marginalized them as amateurs, weirdos and menaces who don’t have the intelligence to raise and educate their own children,” she adds.
“Democratic legislators in California have sought to undermine home-schoolers’ autonomy with intrusive legislation, such as a bill proposed last fall that would have required parents to allow inspectors to search their residential bathrooms for state-mandated feminine hygiene products for female students.”
Malkin also highlights that many of these home-based educators have been subjected to over-zealous inspection and even accused of “educational neglect” due to their decision to take control of their child’s education.
“You start to question yourself as a parent when they come through those doors,” said homeschool educator Tanya Acevedo, who is suing New York City authorities for falsely investigating her over a truancy claim. “My child he eats three meals a day, he’s well taken care of, and I felt that there was no need for them to be knocking at my door. … it was a really scary and really nerve-racking experience.”
“For her crime of exercising educational self-determination, Acevedo was treated as guilty of child abuse until proven innocent,” added Malkin, who also suggests that child welfare agencies are quick to suspect educational neglect in the homeschool environment while ignoring the sub-par quality of education being wheeled out in many schools nationwide.
Malkin also highlights the staggeringly common issue of sexual abuse within the mainstream schooling system. “In 2014 alone,” according to former federal education official Terry Abbott, “there were 781 reported cases of teachers and other school employees accused or convicted of sexual relationships with students.”
“Yet, the vultures of political opportunism are using the plight of the Turpin children to impose expanded control over all home-schoolers in the Golden State,” Malkin added. “Fundamentally, the home-school crackdown caucus views the very freedom to educate one’s own children as a threat to government authority. In the name of liberating the Turpin children, they seek to keep the rest of us home-schooling families in regulatory chains.”
David and Louise Turpin face up to 94 years in jail for their crimes, which include torture and false imprisonment. Despite acting in an abusive manner toward their children for a number of years, neighbors failed to report any suspicious activity to police.
“I just thought they were really private and that maybe they did most of their playing in the backyard,” said Salynn Simon, who lived across the street from the Turpin family in Perris, California.
Simon told CNN that she would let her daughter sell the family Girl Scout cookies, but that the reception she received from the family was cold. “Louise would never open the door all the way,” Simon remembered, adding that the children would be jumping up and down behind her at the prospect of getting cookies.
A student who attended Mt. San Jacinto College with one of the older Turpin boys also revealed some shocking details leaving many to wonder why nothing was ever reported to the proper authorities. Angie Parra told KNBC that the boy wore the same clothes every day, and would never make eye contact. She also recalled how “famished” he was at the school potluck, shoving as much food as he could into his mouth.
“He stood by the table and didn’t sit down,” Parra said. “He literally ate plate after plate after plate.”
“I could see sadness in his face,” she added.