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[I pass on below some of the reasons and evidence for why I maintain that civil government ought never, never, never to be given charge of education or of our children. Here is a case right here in my state of Pennsylvania. It gives only one side of the issue, so one needs to look further, but I can assure you that these kinds of cases are becoming more and more common.

The target is Biblical Christianity, not home schooling, because Biblical Christianity is the *only* substantial enemy of control-minded people who believe that the coercive force of civil govt is the tool by which the kingdom of man will come on earth (socialism, communism, fascism, 1984, Animal Farm, etc.), and that a self-appointed educational elite and their bureaucracies have more wisdom in running our lives than we ourselves do. Such people know that when Christ wins, they lose.  Home schooling is simply one of the very effective ways that Christians assert the sovereignty of God over civil government -- a position, in effect, held to be illegal since 1962.  

The seeds of tyranny and mind-control are always sprouting and spreading. It happens in every culture, in every age. We have all but abandoned America and western civilization to those forces (secularism/paganism) which inherently breed and nourish such seeds. The freedom we have had in politics and education is a direct result of the freedom wherewith Christ has set us free. (Read "The Theme is Freedom" by M. Stanton Evans, or "Defending and Declaration" by Gary Amos) And we, whether confused or cowardly, are trashing that heritage.

We can turn this around the easy way and stand up now for Godly freedom -- before it comes to bloodshed -- or our children, or grandchildren, will have to do it against overwhelming odds and again at the cost of their lives.... It will be done, the seeds of the Gospel are also continually sprouting up. It is only a question of where *we* stand.
E. Fox.]

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Subject: Is This Tyranny? by Bruce and Kim Sickler Date: Sun, 23 Jul 1995 20:15:57 -0400 From: Doris Hohensee <doris>

To: Multiple recipients of list <home-ed-politics@Mainstream.com>

From Home Education Magazine (November-December 1994), reprinted with permission:
 


"Is This Tyranny?"

by Bruce and Kim Sickler

Our family had been home educating for three years when a law was passed to regulate homeschooling in Pennsylvania. In addition to the state regulations, our local school board made its own home school policy. Despite our apprehension about following this law, we reluctantly accepted unwise counsel from Home School Legal Defense Association (HSLDA) to submit the newly required affidavit in August, 1989. They claimed they understood our misgivings and agreed to be aggressive should problems arise. We had full commitment that HSLDA would stand behind us. The problem was, they did not tell us _how far_ behind us they were going to stand and we slipped through the cracks several times.

Superintendent Kent Kresge was never satisfied. He continually demanded things that were not required in the law, and tried his best to execute his judgment by the tactics of threats and intimidation to get what he wanted.

After losing the school board's "appropriate education" hearing in March, 1993, we read the Pennsylvania statute very carefully; we learned that homeschools are classified _only_ as public schools. Given our experiences with the Tunkhannock Area School District, we could not, in good conscience, continue to honor such a law. So, rather than appeal the results of the "impartial" hearing, we served a legal notice to all Tunkhannock Area School Board members, Superintendent Kresge, the Secretary of th Department of Education, and the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania in July, 1993, and a final notice August 4, 1993. In these notices, we stated that we were reclaiming our God given freedoms based on the Constitutions of the United States and the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. We received no response to either notice from any of the parties.

Two of our pastors also wrote letters defending our positions to the school board members and Superintendent Kresge. They went unanswered as well. The result was a legal standstill. It was known by all involved that we had been documenting and collecting evidence for a possible civil rights suit against the school district and Mr. Kresge.

During this time we received several harassing phone calls from unknown callers. Then blank summons papers were delivered from the magistrate's office! On Sept. 27, 1993, someone attempted to break and enter our home when Kim, Nathan, and Sherri were alone. We later learned it was Kim's mother from Arizona - what was she doing in Pennsylvania unannounced, and why was she trying to break into our home? Time quickly revealed.

Our extended family relationships were, for the most part, estranged. For reasons unknown to us, three grandparents oppose our Christian faith, oppose the practice of educating Nathan and Sherri at home, and will do anything to try to gain control of things. Although Bruce's parents (friends of Superintendent Kresge) live only 10 miles away, there was very little contact, except on our part, and they rarely, if ever, phoned. Kim's parents are divorced; her mother lives in Arizona and we have only seen her four times in the past twelve years. Happily, Kim's father has been very supportive to our family and has encouraged us in the difficult times. The children enjoy spending time in his company.

Without warning or notice, on Saturday, October 2, 1993, we were served papers by the county sheriff. An oral motion of counsel for the Wyoming County Human Services Agency (WCHSA) was made and we were ordered to appear with Nathan and Sherri for an emergency detention hearing on Tuesday, October 5, at 9:00 am. Curiously engouh, the court order did not reveal the reason for the emergency or the detention. The timing of this hearing was devised so that we would have no legal counsel by Tuesday. Monday, October 4, Bruce learned the WCHSA made this a juvenile case and denied us, the parents, access to the information in our children's file. They would not divulge the charges on the petition filed against us, a denial of our due process right. As a result, we had no way of knowing how to prepare for the next day.

Upon entering the courtroom that day, we were surprised to see over forty people there to support us. Since the oral motion was made by the WCHSA we wondered why Superintendent Kresge, Bruce's parents, and Kim's mother were present. Everyone witnessed Kim tell Mr. Kresge and her mother that she forgave them for the pain they were causing us, and hoped they never had to go through anything like this. Mr. Kresge smirked; Kim's mother verbally attacked her. Everyone turned and looked in astonishment.

When Judge Brendon Vanston brought the gavel down everyone had to clear the courtroom except "blood relatives." That should have disqualifgied Bruce's parents - Bruce was adopted. Bruce's brother had traveled three hours to be with us and to testify on our behalf, yet even he was made to leave. The workers of darkness certainly did not want the public to view what was about to take place.

When the proceedings began, Bruce asked the judge, "Why are we here?" The judge informed us that the petition filed by WCHSA on behalf of Kim's mother and Bruce's father was alleging child abuse! And another petition had been filed by the Tunkhannock Area School District (TASD) for child dependency - this petition had been filed that very morning!

Nathan and Sherri discovered they had a court-appointed attorney. She was to represent their interests but not the interest of the family. Nathan and Sherri wanted nothing to do with her. The court-appointed attorney told the judge the children wanted to hire an attorney of their choice; the judge ordered the attorney to stay. Bruce also requested the right to counsel according to the Pa. Juvenile Act 42 Pa. C.S.A. Statute 6337. Judge Vanston ignored our request and went right on with the proceedings. These actions violated our family's right to counsel and due process. Last but not least, we discovered that the Tunkhannock Area School District lawyer, Ms. Steele, was also the lawyer for the Wyoming County Human Services Agency - need we say more?

Although child abuse was supposedly the reason for the court order, the subject of child abuse was never mentioned in the court testimony that day. The grandparents responded to the programmed questions with the typical programmed answers about socialization and all of the other home education myths. They now felt they needed time alone with Nathan and Sherri. Why now? The grandparents had never made any attempts over the years to have contact with our son and daughter, even on holidays and birthdays. Ironically, they had no idea of what Nathan and Sherri learn, where they go, who they see, their interests...

Of course, there was no evidence of abuse or educational neglect of any kind presented. Nathan and Sherri listened to their grandparents and the superintendent repeatedly tell what they knew to be untrue while under oath. Throughout the hearing Judge Vanston berated us and continually threatened to remove Nathan and Sherri from our home. Even though they did not get a chance to testify, our son and daughter expressed their convictions and their negative opinions about their grandparents. The judge said the children were too young to have such opinions of their own and that we must be "directly teaching" these opinions to them (at the time Nathan was nearly 15 and Sherri was 12). What hypocrisy: Twelve-year-olds can legally obtain abortions, decide which divorced parent to live with, and a nine-year-old can divorce his biological parents! But the judge wanted us to subject Nathan and Sherri to psychological testing at WCHSA because the children were "being taught in the home." Bruce refused the testing.

We were denied any opportunity to call any witnesses or to present any evidence. Judge Vanston chastised us for the negative relationships between Nathan and Sherri and their grandparents. We were willing to meet the grandparents halfway and wanted counseling with a minister of our choice and a counselor of their choice. They refused; we asked the judge what could be done. He ordered Nathan and SHerri to be enrolled in school.

Untold thousand of people have family problems and estrangements but are never accused of child abuse simply because they home educate their children. Estrangement in the family is not in itself child abuse, and the court did not legally have the power to move against us just because of the grandparents' squabbles, misunderstandings, and differing opinions. Filing charge of child abuse when there is no evidence is totally irresponsible and may even be criminal on the part of the grandparents. But he judge construed "being taught in the home" as abuse and threatened to remove the children from us and ordered Nathan and Sherri to be enrolled in an approved school within thirty days. It now appears this entire action was drummed up because Mr. Kresge was continuing his power play; he used the grandparents to further his agenda.

It appears that the courts, laws, and lawyers cannot be relied upon to protect the rights to families against the dictates of the state (or federal?) governments. We have reason to be concerned about a judiciary that has the _power_ - not necessarily the _authority_ - to enforce the interests of the state. The intent of the law can be twisted. This has made us wary of the abuse of authority and the potential misuse of laws that some claim give us the "freedom" to homeschool.

There were only two options available to us in order to fulfill the court order. We could give our children over to an institution that goes against every thing in which we believe, or we could leave the only home our son and daughter have ever known. Our family chose to move out of Pennsylvania.

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