Friday, September 16, 2005


This past week, I've been watching this situation in Huron County, Ohio with the 11 children; some or all who had to sleep in cages. Home schooled was front and center in the many articles I read about the issue. There's been a couple of issues that have oozed out of the woodwork so far that seem to affect homeschoolers.

This floater, of sorts, in the last couple of days was regarding HSLDA's involvement in this case (Scott Somerville, specifically). He's recently started his own personal? blog and was posting information regarding his conversation with the custodial parent of these children. Here's a couple of excerpts from his blog post of "Eleven Kids in Cages":
From Sep. 13, 2005

They say "A lie can get halfway around the world before the truth can get its shoes on." The story about eleven Ohio children being locked up in cages is racing around the world, but, oddly enough, the first accurate report I could find comes from England. I spoke to the father of these children on Monday, and this story from the BBC is basically consistent with what he told me.

The BBC article states "The children, aged one to 14, said they slept in cells only one metre (40in) high. They had no pillows or blankets, according to a Huron County sheriff. " I don't know a lot about special needs kids, but most kids like to snuggle in a blanket. And a pillow, mattress?? Trying to keep an open mind though, one concludes from his statements that Mr. Somerville liked that article for its accuracy. Continuing on......
From Sep. 15, 2005, Mr. Somerville, Esquire states:

Doug Oplinger, at the Akron Beacon-Journal, is looking at the story. I'm going to be interested to see his take on it. I think he's too good a journalist to mischaracterize any of the facts, but I know he's very concerned about the possibility that bad people could use "homeschooling" as a way to hide abuse. He might run this as, "Ohio couple didn't hide, but what about the others?"

Uh, ok, now one can really scratch their head. Oplinger and Willard/Akron Beacon Journal ran the infamous and incredibly inaccurate series about homeschooling and homeschoolers last year. Bluedorns tore up the articles with their Newspaper Logic article and research. Valerie Bonham Moon did the same on her military homeschooling site. And finally, here's the Ohio Home Education Coalition's take on this all with their facts.

Then the Akron Beacon Journal article shows up yesterday written by Oplinger and darn if Mr. Somerville isn't quoted in that very article:

Scott Somerville, an attorney with the Home School Legal Defense Association in Virginia, said he talked with Michael Gravelle before the story broke in the media, and he believes this is a family trying to help special children.

When a social worker visited the house last week, there was no resistance to an inspection, said Somerville, whose organization represents home-schooling families on legal matters.

``They had nothing to hide,'' Somerville said. ``He told me why they adopted these children and told me the problems they were trying to solve.

``I think he is a hero.''

Ok, Oplinger is either too good a journalist to mischaracterize any of the facts and all of the above is accurate which seemed to be unusual, in my opinion, for an article by Mr. Oplinger. If it is the case that these are accurate quotes; what very unfortunate remarks by an attorney actively trying to serve as a spokesperson for the 'homeschool image'. If the media is accurate, there are some questions about Mr. Gravelle's "physical mistreatment of the children". Not good and certainly not heroic.

Reading this, my little voice wants neon lights and huge signs that say:
Homeschoolers are NOT about caging their children in seclusion nor are they about whipping or abusing their children. Homeschoolers are about spending good family time and educating their children because life is short.

Grandma with her newest great grandchild 19 years ago

Homeschool Legislation Watch
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