I have noticed over the past couple of years, whenever I see a story in the news about something awful happening in a school, whether it is a shooting, a bomb plot, a sexual assault, or some other horrible act, I see at least a couple of comments along the lines of, “This is why I’m considering homeschooling next year!”
As a homeschooling mother of three, I have no problem with parents pulling their kids out of school to educate them at home, for whatever reason. And certainly, parents who decide to homeschool because their local school is unsafe have a very valid reason for making that choice.
This week, a 15-year-old girl was sexually assaulted in the hallway of her Maryland high school at 8:00 in the morning while other students were in class. Surveillance video showed the suspect, 17-year-old Jocori Scarborough, grabbing the victim in the hallway before he pulled her out of view of the camera and allegedly raped her. Parents in the district were appalled, and one mother was quoted by the local news, saying, “I don’t feel safe sending my daughter to that school.” She indicated her family would either move or they would homeschool next year.
Don’t let fear be the only factor in your decision
The idea that your daughter could be raped in the hallway and no one would even notice is enough to send chills down any parent’s spine. While such incidents are, thankfully, uncommon, when something like this happens in your child’s school district it doesn’t matter how likely it is to happen again.
But parents should not let fear be the only factor when making such an important decision. Homeschooling is a terrific alternative for many kids, but it requires a phenomenal commitment from the parents and the decision should not be made without careful consideration.
Deal with any imminent danger
If you believe your child is in imminent danger, from drugs or violence on campus or a suspected predator who has not been handled effectively by the authorities, you should of course do something immediately. Possible dangers also includes kids who are at risk of injuring themselves or others due to the intense psychological pressures of bullying. Don’t hesitate to remove your child from a dangerous situation.
Homeschooling is one good option. Online virtual public school is another. Transferring to a safer public or private school may also be a solution, if such options are available.
Consider whether the threat is neutralized
In cases such as those involving teachers who are arrested for molesting students, the threat to your children may be relatively small once the predator is removed from the classroom. Once the known threat is gone, you might feel comfortable and safe leaving your kids in their school.
But, of course, you may still wish to remove your child from the school, especially if there was any dangerous pattern of concealing or excusing the offender’s actions or if there have been other incidents at the school. Either way, if there is no other sign of imminent danger, you may want to take your time and form a plan before withdrawing your child from school.
If you decide to homeschool
If you do decide that homeschooling is the right move for your family, go for it! The first thing you might want to do is visit HSLDA, the Home School Legal Defense Association, to find out about the laws in your state. Some states require that you give notification to your school, and some even require that you obtain permission before starting to homeschool.
Your next move will be to come up with an education plan for your child, at least for the immediate future. There are many curriculum options out there and many styles of homeschooling, so you’ll have many decisions to make both before you get started and along the way. And finally, you might want to seek out a local homeschool group, which can help provide both educational and social opportunities for your child.
Homeschooling requires an uncommon level of commitment to your child’s education, but it can be extremely rewarding. Just don’t make your decision to homeschool on an impulse, or strictly out of fear, because taking on full responsibility for your child’s learning experience is one of the biggest decisions you’ll ever make.
More by Tavia:
Are kindergartners safe in public schools?
Six Ways Grandparents Can Help Homeschool Their Grandkids
Just How Do Homeschool Kids Socialize, Anyway?