Homeschool World
HomeTop Menu
October 17, 2003

Dear [CBS and Viacom President]:

By way of introduction, I am the President of Home School Legal Defense Association (HSLDA) and we represent 80,000 member families nationwide. I'm writing to call your attention to the October 13 and 14 two-part story on the CBS Evening News by Vince Gonzales entitled "A Dark Side to Home Schooling" and "Home Schooling Nightmares".

HSLDA has been involved in the legal issues of homeschooling for over 20 years. In that time, we've seen our share of negative journalism. However, I can say without any doubt that this CBS story is the worst journalistic attack on homeschooling that I have ever seen.

The message of the CBS report is that homeschoolers are child abusers and homeschool so they can hide child abuse. These allegations are untrue and demean the hundreds of thousands of homeschool families across America. This is bad enough. But perhaps even more disturbing is the way in which the report went about making its case.

Surely, you must see that it is unfair to take a few sensational cases involving alleged homeschool families and imply that many other homeschool families must be abusing their children as well. This is especially true where, as in the sensational cases that were the focus of the report, government officials had actually been involved with each family at some point in time. If anything, the story should have been that the tragedies occurred even under the scrutiny of government officials. Moreover, no comparative statistics were analyzed in regard to levels of child abuse in relation to the children in public schools.

Also troubling is the conclusion of the report that homeschool parents should be subject to mandatory background checks. This is outrageous and should be offensive to all citizens as it smacks of totalitarian governmental control, a concept Americans rejected long ago.

One of the unfortunate consequences of this report is that some people might actually believe it and use the anonymous tip procedures available to report homeschool families for abuse and neglect without any factual basis for doing so. Child Protective Services are obligated to follow-up these reports and homeschool families will face unwarranted harassment. This already happens all too frequently to families all across America. More importantly, real abuse will be missed because the system may be clogged with false reports.

In conclusion, it is obvious to us that the goal of the CBS story was to plant the seed in the public's mind that there is a link between home education and child abuse. This is unacceptable and it is an outrage to the homeschool community as you have probably learned by now. I appeal to your sense of justice and fair play to look into this matter. I look forward to hearing from you in the very near future.


J. Michael Smith
HSLDA President

More background on the "Dark Side of Homeschooling" show

Terms of Use   Privacy Policy
Copyright ©1993- Home Life, Inc.