June 3, 2002

Michigan Home Schoolers Investigated Based on Anonymous Tip

Mrs. Blain* in Michigan was getting her children up and preparing for her day one morning when a knock came at the door. Her young son answered it and came back to his mother with the business card of a social service agent saying, "Here's the card from the lady that was going to take us away." This little boy had no knowledge of or any fear of social workers, so the mother could only assume that the social worker had told him that. By the time she reached the door, the social worker had left.

Within a few hours, two police officers came, sent by the social worker. The allegations were that the house was dirty, dirty diapers were everywhere, the family did not have enough furniture, and the kids were left home alone (their oldest child was six). Of course, the allegations were completely false. Within a few minutes of meeting the family, the police could see that the allegations were "bogus" and that "somebody must be really mad at you." Nonetheless, they stated that the social worker still wanted to come and see them.

The Blains contacted Home School Legal Defense Association when the social worker came the following day. They handed the phone out the door to the social worker who saw the children from the distance and admitted that they were "well fed and well cared for." The HSLDA attorney explained that the social worker could not come into the home nor interview the children as she had demanded, but the family would offer them references of individuals in the community who would vouch for them being good parents. The social worker responded by saying the information from other people in the community would just be "hearsay" and would not be sufficient. She finally left when HSLDA explained that the anonymous tip that the social worker had received was the true hearsay.

HSLDA sent the social worker a letter regarding the legitimacy of the family's home school program, which had also come into question. The family also submitted various references from their friends. We expect that this case will soon be closed.

*Name changed to protect the family's privacy.