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March 27, 2006

Homeschooler Receives 'Armed Escort' Across Town

Nick Pantele and his wife were homeschooling their two children in Michigan three days before their move to Arizona, when they got an unwanted knock at the door. Little did they know, they were about to get an "armed escort" by five police cars.

At the door was a social worker who insisted on entering the home and interviewing the Pantele children. Mr. Pantele refused, having previously talked with Home School Legal Defense Association about his Fourth Amendment right to say no to government officials who request entry into his home. He quickly called HSLDA again and talked with attorney Chris Klicka.

The concerned homeschool father handed the phone to the social worker. Klicka explained to the social worker the family's constitutional rights. Klicka also said Mr. Pantele was willing to cooperate with the investigation, but he was not going to allow the social worker into his house.

Klicka explained further the law which HSLDA helped pass in Michigan that requires all social workers to be trained in their duty to protect the Constitutional and statutory rights of the individuals they investigate. Also, social workers are required to tell families the allegations against them. In the case against the Panteles, the social worker explained the allegations included sexual abuse—a charge the parents emphatically insisted were completely false.

A family member had actually turned them in and was using the system to hurt the Panteles.

The social worker, meanwhile, called for police support. Within minutes, five police squad cars pulled up to the house. Five police officers emerged, armed and ready. Mr. Pantele quickly handed the phone to the police officer in charge. The officer said that he had to see the children, despite Klicka explaining that the allegations were bogus.

Klicka said police could see the children, but that the officers could not enter the home or interview the children alone or in any great detail. Nick Pantele agreed. The children, however, were not at home—they were with their grandmother.

Mr. Pantele proceeded to lead a caravan through town: His own car, escorted by five police cruisers and a government social worker in her own vehicle.

They arrived at the grandmother's, only to find that the children were now visiting their uncle. So once again, Mr. Pantele drove across town, accompanied by his taxpayer-funded "armed escort."

At the uncle's home, while Klicka counseled him on the phone, Mr. Pantele had his two children come out and greet the police officers. The dad stepped away while the uncle remained as a witness. Klicka also insisted that only the police, and not the social worker, be allowed to speak with the children. Within minutes the police officers were satisfied and the social worker left, stating she would be closing the case.

Praise God for delivering this family from this difficult situation.