June 14, 2024

Homeschoolers and Fourth Amendment Rights


The other day, acting on a strange impulse, I hurriedly wrote the following on my calendar: “Ran to town over the LUNCH HOUR to pick up prescription for 6 yo, ran by library, dump and grocery store.” Why did I do this? Documentation.

Our home state is reasonably relaxed when it comes to homeschoolers, but no state is safe. Did you know that based on an anonymous tip alone, you can be falsely accused of child abuse and have your children taken from you? Don’t tick anyone off that resents your choice to homeschool.

Here’s what you need to know. The Fourth Amendment protects you. No matter where in the USA you live, a social worker does not have permission to enter your home unless they have a signed warrant from a judge. Some social workers don’t even know that they lack the right to forcibly enter your home, they’ll bully and intimidate. Call their bluff. The Fourth Amendment right to freedom protects us from unreasonable searches and seizures.

They’ll try the courteous route, assuring you that all will be solved (whatever alleged abuse you’re accused of) if you’ll just let them in to discuss it. Huh-uh. Let them in without an official warrant and they’ll find something to pin on you. A messy house, ‘mal-nourished’ child—yes, these are real accusations against homeschoolers. Worse, your children will be traumatized.

If a suspicious neighbor was the one to “anonymously” tip the authorities that she saw a bruise on your child, the social worker may insist on strip-searching all your children. Don’t let them through the door. They can’t get a warrant—even from an anonymous tip or simply suspicion of abuse. But once you let them in your house, you’ve waived your rights and they can get a warrant to take your children away…because they’ll invent “probable cause” by observing your surroundings.

So if one comes to your door? Get their business card. Find out the allegations. Ignore all attempts at intimidation. Calmly tell them that you have nothing to hide, but in the best interests of your children you’ll get in touch with them after you speak with your attorney.

Lack of supervision and having your children outside during school hours are the two most common allegations of educational neglect against homeschoolers. Thus my hastily jotted note to myself on the calendar. At the dump, I got the third degree for having my children out and about. I admit, it rattled me.

Nothing like homeschooling to keep this sahm home. :O)

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15 thoughts on “Homeschoolers and Fourth Amendment Rights

  1. Thanks for that post.

    I needed to be reminded that I have rights, and do not have to let these people in my house.

    A friend of ours was “anonymously” tipped to the CPS, the lady came by and praise God she was a born again christian. The woman who was accused is not an abuser, or neglecter, but one of her neighbors was mad at her and so called CPS.

    It is a scary world. I worry about that sort of thing alot. Especially about where the world is going with regards to laws about raising kids. But our God is soveriegn and able.

    Mrs. Meg Logan

  2. Mary thanks for the information! Every parent should be aware of their legal rights.

    I have learned that when I see children at Wal-Mart, the park, library etc. with their moms, I think to myself, “homeschoolers.” And I can’t help but smile.

  3. Thanks, Ladies. :O)

    I read a fascinating book on the subject a while ago, that had not a whole lot to do with homeschooling…The Child Abuse Industry by Mary Pride.

    I’m so thankful my Heavenly Father has me and mine in His hands.

  4. I’ve read a lot over the years about what Child Protective Services, et al, can and have done over the past. To some degree they think that they are above the Constitution because they’re “doing it for the children.” I struggle a lot with the fact that they can remove your kids and then offer to “fix your problems” but in the meantime they can put your kids with a foster family that may teach them whatever they want to.

    It’s scary, Mary, that at some point we may have to fight for our kids because we do love them and want to be able to train them in the Lord and someone thinks that that is abuse.

  5. It amazes me that they go after good parents, but the crack heads they leave alone. We have tones of meth addicts in our town and they make kids just as fast as they make their drugs. Do you think those junkies are taking care of their kids…. I don’t think so. Most of them don’t make sure that their kids go to public school, much less homeschool. We don’t have any law enforcement in our town and the kids, even young kids, just run lose all day long. They go to school if they feel like it. And the town officials complain about the vandilism and such. Oh, it angers me.

  6. The bureacracy of Child Welfare is out of control. Those idiots will lie, cheat, and steal to make you look bad and you look good. They are nothing short of non-elected cheating politicians. It should be up to a parent how they want to educate their children.

  7. While I agree the system is messed up I wonder how we are representing Christ by lawyering up at the door. I can not think of a single biblical example where a Godly individual chose to hide in fear of what COULD happen. Do we not trust Christ to protect our family? What a great testimony to open the door to this person and show them how you parent, and in the proccess share the gospel. Yes, you could be persecuted for what you believe, but the person could also be saved. Regardless of what happens, God is in control and He will look out for your family.

    Don’t get me wrong, I am all about protecting my family. I certainly would not let kids be strip searched or bombarded with inappropriate questions. If at any point the person became inappropriate I would feel perfectly comfortable asking them to leave. I would be polite, and direct. If they did not respond appropriately and leave I would be perfectly fine with calling the police, and/or my lawyer.

  8. I think what Mary is saying is that the place in which you have rights is at your door. Once you open that door and let someone in your house, if you were to ask them to leave (especially if they believe they have found something) they will charge you with obstruction of a police officer. They cannot see or have any grounds for a search warrant only if they see something, and I think you know the dangers of letting them see anything they could take as suspicious.

    Imagine your child talking about getting a spanking or something of that nature and they then believe they have grounds to see if you are abusing your child… Having read a lot about Department of Social Services, I will not be allowing them into my house.

    As for Biblical commands, the Gospel of John talks about the power of who you let into your house. It says that if someone comes to your door with another gospel, you are not to have them in your house because you are acknowledging their religion. In one way (and maybe it’s a stretch) to allow the government, secular social service workers into our house to examine our children is something just as dangerous.

    I’m not saying that all social workers are bad. I’m not saying that God can’t do a work and protect you. I’m not even saying that you’re totally wrong, Doug. What I am saying is that if you’re going to make the choice to let them in, know that you just forfeited every right you have, and should they find something they may take away your child and put them in a foster home– and you may certainly be able to get them back… in a while, but you’ll wish you never let them in.

  9. The Department of Social Services personnel are not police officers. They do not have the right to arrest you or take your children without a court order. They provide investigative services to see if there is a reason to be concerned. If there is enough evidence that you are abusing your child and are a significant threat to their well being, they can file paperwork with the court to have your children removed quickly. Only if there is an immediate threat are they allowed to do this. Otherwise it is a more drawn out process where they are suppose to try and work with you. A real police officer is required to be present when any of these court orders are exercised.

    If I let them in my door I am allowing them to see the inside of my house. It is possible based upon what they see that they could think they have more “evidence” against me. This is not “forfeiting every right” I have. I still have a legal right to ask them to leave at any point in time. I have a legal right to deny them conversations with my children. I have a legal right to decide what is and what is not appropriate in my house, and I definitely would exercise those rights. This is not a “once I open the door there is nothing I can do”. Yes, it is true that what I say can be used against me to get a warrant. I personally do not feel I have anything to hide. The way I discipline my children is backed up by God’s word, and I feel fine talking with people about it. Anytime we share our faith we open ourselves to persecution. This is no different.

    Yes, there are big consequences, but I trust God to be in whatever the outcome. If it is His will that the charges get dismissed quickly, praise God! By addressing things quickly I have kept the DSS from trying more covert and tricky tactics to get the information about my children. I have also represented Christ by not hiding from their questions, but standing firm in what is right. Our faith and beliefs are not meant to be put under a bushel.

    Should my children be put in someone else’s care for a season, praise God! My son already asks people if they know Jesus. May they receive the gospel and be saved by a three year old! I trust God to protect them from whatever COULD happen.

    I will not regret letting them in whatever the outcome. However painful what could happen, I do not see any biblical example of any Godly individual shrinking down from telling the truth or claiming innocence in fear of persecution. Don’t get me wrong, if something horrible happened while my son was in someone’s foster care, it would tear me to pieces. I know that God would be in it, and turn all things to His good.

    Romans 8:28 “And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.”

    Genesis 50:20 “But as for you, ye thought evil against me; but God meant it unto good, to bring to pass, as it is this day, to save much people alive.”

    FYI, a pretty good website about what DSS can and can’t do. It’s for MA, but it should apply just about anywhere.

  10. Well, PRaise the Lord, I knew there was a reason I married you! Oh you have so much faith. I think if they ever come to our house and you are not there I will ask them to come back when you are! But you are so right. You have inspired me to faithfulness, praise God for your willingness to stand firm. You are right that He is in control. I do not deny that having my children taken from our care would not only tear me to shreds, but likely cause me to flounder. I am not that faithful. But the Lord is able, He can give me the strength to endure trials with joy, that my character might be proven, that He would be glorifed. I pray that this sort of thing will never happen. Though it sure would be cool if our three year old helped someone recieve Christ! There is always hope in Him, I would be wise to remember it.

    Thanks for that post Doug, your wife,

  11. I guess the question is, Doug, whether it’s God’s will to risk the circumstances with the children, or to head it off at the pass, and I can see both points of view.

    Truly God is sovereign, children can lead others to Christ, your method of parenting and schooling can be a light, and you may have nothing to fear.

    On the other hand, since God has provided us with the tools to protect our children, since they are our gifts, and it’s the natural instinct that we should protect them, then I can see where those people would prefer to shut the door.

    Personally, I side toward the latter, even though I would hope that I wouldn’t have a problem going to jail for my faith. Simply put, it’s one thing for me to risk my own self for the cause of Christ, but to put my child in the place where they are ripped from my home and then placed in some house that I don’t know of where the possibility exists that the people practice Wicca or some other religion, to have them going to some other church– I don’t know that it’s for me to place the burden on them not to hear what is said and be effective for the cause of Christ– let alone those who have children who are not saved.

    For you, it might be perfectly fine for the ages that your kids are, your practices, etc for you to have that means– and I say go for it brother! But for many, it is a wise bit of information for them to just shut the door– or walk outside and witness, but for them not to enter the house.

  12. You know, it’s not surprising to me that this was brought up. In fact, when writing this post I almost ended it with a paragraph on how God commands us not to walk in fear, but I ran out of time, and decided to publish it as it was.

    Good arguments for both sides, and I admire the faith behind Doug’s statements. It’s true that we humans have no idea what God is trying to accomplish most times, and to us, what may seem terrible and harmful to our children, might actually be happening to bring eventual glory to God. Like Mrs. Meg Logan, I’m afraid having my children taken away would be devastating in the extreme! Especially since my 6 year old lately has taken to a strange fear of strangers. My heart would be breaking for her every night. What a faith strengthener though, to go through it and come out intact. Only God in His sovereignty could pull that off, imho!

    The bottom line is we need to know our rights. This was my intent when writing this article. Many people do not understand that the social worker is required by law to have a warrant. Many social workers do not even know this basic right! They’ll bully and bluff their way into the home and the poor parent (sans Doug Logan ;O)) would be steamrolled without knowing any better.

    If you get a chance to read Homeschool: The Right Choice by Christopher Klicka, the head of the Homeschool Legal Defense Assoc., he explains all this. Homeschool families are being singled out to be made examples. They’re being set up, yes, by police officers and social workers. There was one story in which the “law” staged a break in, just so the family would call the police. Then the police officer came in their house, took some “notes” and later on they were accused of child abuse because of the following 3 things: Their sink was full of dirty dishes, there were a couple piles of dirty laundry on the floor, and lastly, their house had a weird smell. Incredible as it sounds, they’d had a late supper, Italian was the menu. But the alleged child abuse was enough for a warrant. Thankfully they were HSLDA members and the free lawyers got them off.

    Everywhere there are godly families who’ve been falsely accused and have lost their children. Not just for a season, but for this lifetime. I’m a firm believer in the fact that we need to protect our rights. Go ahead and meet with the higher ups if you’re so inclined, but off your premises. I wouldn’t subject my children to it if I could help it.

    Unless God convicted me otherwise.

  13. “They’re being set up, yes, by police officers and social workers. There was one story in which the “law” staged a break in, just so the family would call the police. Then the police officer came in their house, took some “notes” and later on they were accused of child abuse because of the following 3 things: Their sink was full of dirty dishes, there were a couple piles of dirty laundry on the floor, and lastly, their house had a weird smell. Incredible as it sounds, they’d had a late supper, Italian was the menu. But the alleged child abuse was enough for a warrant. Thankfully they were HSLDA members and the free lawyers got them off.”

    Thats just plain illegal and bugs me like you wouldn’t believe. I am so thankful that our legal system has systems in place to counter such actions. I can assure you that this situation happened with my family it wouldn’t just stop with dropped charges. Local news crews love stuff like this and our civil system would gladly take the case if our local criminal court was too insidious to handle it properly.

    There is no reason why someone should be able to stay in their job of enforcing the law if they’re wasting their time on such antics as this. The judge that signed the final warrant based on that minimal evidence should also lose his position. It is for ridiculous things like this that I am thankful that I have Prepaid Legal*. It’s nice to know I have a lawyer on call 24hrs a day 365 days a year in an emergency, should something crazy like this happen at 2:00am.

    I imagine these references to the legal system probably seem like a stark contrast to my earlier comments ;-). I trust God to work out His justice. However, I also think its appropriate to use the legal system of the world so as long as doing so does not contradict scripture (e.g. You should not take a believer to court). In doing so I realize that even when the world’s legal system fails, God is faithful. Throughout scripture God frequently works through the existing authority structure.

    * For anyone wondering, I do profit from the sale of a Prepaid Legal plan on that website. I happen to really believe in the product which is why I referenced it. MinTheGap, please feel free to remove this and the link if you deem this inappropriate. There is a contact form on my website if you have questions about it to keep this thread clean.

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