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Vol. XXV
No. 6

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“Calling HSLDA? We’ll Call the Police.”

St. Louis-area lifetime Home School Legal Defense Association member Bonnie Shelley (name changed to protect privacy) answered a knock on her door. The friendly social worker on her porch told Bonnie she was there to do a family assessment and would like to ask her kids some questions.

Bonnie told the social worker that she would first like to call HSLDA.* Upon hearing that, the social worker’s disposition suddenly changed and she called the police. Since the police station was very close, an officer was there within a minute.

The social worker insisted that she needed to make sure the kids were okay. Upon the advice of HSLDA Senior Counsel Scott Woodruff, Bonnie allowed all her children—including the sleeping baby—to come out and greet the social worker and then return inside. The social worker could see that all the kids were fine. She wrote down their names and ages, but on Woodruff’s advice, Bonnie did not supply the birth dates of the children. The social worker was very interested in the fact that all the kids were homeschooled.

Woodruff asked the social worker what the allegations were. Bonnie was accused of making her 3-year-old eat brussels sprouts, and when he threw them up, of making him eat the vomit.

Woodruff asked Bonnie to go back into the house while he advised her about the situation. Bonnie then returned to the front door and refuted all the allegations. She also explained that she was not comfortable permitting the social worker to question the children.

The social worker told Bonnie that she would soon be getting a letter saying there was no indication of neglect.

— by Scott A. Woodruff

* See “HSLDA social services contact policy.”