Single mother Kiarre Harris is claiming that Child Protective Services arrested her and seized her kids for deciding to homeschool them.
Buffalo, New York Mother Kiarre Harris says she started researching homeschooling last November because her children were not excelling at the failing Buffalo Public Schools they were attending. “I felt that the district was failing my children and that’s when I made the decision to homeschool,” she said.
Harris claims she did everything by the book, and judging from paperwork she provided to local Buffalo news organizations it appears that she indeed filed the appropriate paperwork to withdraw her children from the public school system and homeschool them. In fact, Harris has paper stamped “received” on Dec. 7, 2016, from the school district.
“I spoke directly to the homeschool coordinator and she told me from this point on my children were officially un-enrolled from school,” Harris told WKBW.
Despite claims that she followed the district’s rules, a week later Child Protective Services started calling Harris asking why her children were not in school. “I told them that my kids were homeschooled now and that I could furnish the documents if they need to see them,” Harris told WKBW.
A couple of weeks’ later CPS officials and police confronted her with a court order to take her children.
So what’s the truth here?
The school district is refusing to comment on the case, claiming that pending litigation and privacy laws prevent them from commenting on what happened. But Buffalo Councilman Ulysses O. Wingo Sr. is calling on Family Court to return Harris’ children to her immediately, saying it’s “utterly unacceptable” that a mother was arrested for “educational neglect” for wanting to homeschool her children.
I’ll be the first to say that from a political standpoint the mother seems a little wacky; her social media posts contain all sorts of references to Black Lives Matter and a number of other radical left-wing groups and positions. That being said; your political viewpoints should have no bearing on a case like this.
Hell yes, I disagree with probably 90% of what this woman says; but if her children were indeed taken because she decided to teach them in a matter that she deemed better than the failing public school systems, then the government has no right to say a word. They have no right to take someone’s children because of their political viewpoints or because they spoke out against the failing public school system.
We’ve covered cases like this numerous times in the past; just recently we covered a case where a mother from Ohio was sentenced to 180 days in jail for not filing paperwork in a format that was acceptable to the local school district – despite the fact that her children were thriving in their homeschool setting.
New York homeschooling laws state that a parent or guardian must submit a notice of intent to homeschool to a school district superintendent in the beginning of the school year or within 14 days of starting a homeschool program during the school year. Other requirements along with the notice of intent include: an individualized home instruction plan or a learning syllabus detailing curriculum materials; plan of instruction and textbooks that will be used while homeschooling; and attendance records that show the child has met the substantially equivalent 180 days of schooling per year.
As with many of these cases, there are always two sides to every story. But since nobody from the school district will comment on the situation and CPS is also refusing to say a word, right now we have only the mother’s words, and paperwork which seems to indicate she followed the local government’s rules.
What is clear is the public school systems have entirely too much power over how you educate your children. In some states, such as New York, even after legally pulling your children from the public school system you are still required to be part of that system. Many of these government run school districts force you to file monthly or quarterly reports so they can basically spy on what you are doing in your homeschool.
Here she is in a Facebook Live Video where she describes what happened in her own words: